Monday, April 11, 2005

Viktor & Rolf: Colors

Fashion designers Viktor Horsting & Rolf Snoeren (AKA Viktor & Rolf) are smart and successful. The duo began by walking the line between art and fashion, mounting high-concept runway shows—at once layering ten outfits on a single model, and slowly undressing her à la couture Matryoshka nesting dolls , or "launching" a perfume in a bottle that could not be opened—but they've proven able capitalists, branching out with prêt-à-porter lines since 2000. (I was astonished when I first saw their 2002 collection—spring RTW to be found here—video-projected as part of Skin Tight: The Sensibility of the Flesh at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art last summer: the beautiful and outlandish layering of collars in their couture line was particularly striking.)

V&R Mantua
Colors, their recent curatorial outing for the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, "examines relationships between colors, feelings and function in historical and contemporary costume" and is organized around rooms devoted to fashion of several colors or color combinations: black, blue, "multicolored," red and yellow, and white. Metropolis Tokyo considers the "blue room" in their review:
Often considered a noble color, blue, as the exhibition notes, has been linked to everyone who is anyone from the Virgin Mary to the French royal family. An 18th-century blue "Mantua" dress (the type often depicted in paintings of the time by Gainsborough), is typically Rococo, its delicate silver braiding highlighted against the soft, light tone of the fabric.
Luckily, the show will make a stop in NYC by year’s end (2 December 2005 through 9 April 2006) at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The exhibition is a collaboration with the Kyoto Costume Institute that draws upon KCI’s extensive collection of 11,000 objects—be sure to file away their way-cool digital archive, a collection primarily consisting of Western costume and related materials (such as underwear and accessories) from the eighteenth century to the present.

Postscript: The current issue of Index features an interview with V&R (unfortunately, not available on the web, but buy a $15 subscription instead).


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