Viktor & Rolf's Barbican Exhibit With Side By Side Comparisons of the Dolls & Fashions With The Runway Models

Welcome to the dollhouse. Viktor & Rolf's Dollhouse, that is. Dutch fashion design duo Viktor & Rolf, whose runway shows have become increasingly imaginative over the years, employing everything from models wearing their own lighting and scaffolding to soot darkened faces and bodies, are showcasing some of their best and most interesting designs in a uniquely Viktor & Rolf sort of way.

Having constructed a large dollhouse in whose rooms stand porcelain dolls (each doll approximately 2 feet tall) clad in their most memorable creations from the past fifteen years, Viktor & Rolf once again immortalize themselves in fashion history.

This summer an exhibition at the Barbican Art gallery in the UK put the duo's fashions on porcelain dolls in a giant dollhouse as well as on runways with films of past runway shows playing in the background. The fashions and dolls are arranged by collection within the rooms. About fifty 19th century dolls showcase some of their most memorable creations since all the way back to 1993, taking over the entire gallery.

The House of Viktor & Rolf: Dutch fashion design arrives at the Barbican
18 June 2008 - 21 September 2008, Barbican Art Gallery

I have laboriously and painstakingly found the actual full size fashions from their past runway shows since 1993 -- as well as almost all of the dolls from the Barbican exhibit -- and am putting them side by side for you to see for yourselves.

As shown above, even the hair and make-up on the bisque dolls replicate the look of the models and outfits.

The head of each doll is made by a Belgian expert who fires bisque faces traditionally and they are stunningly rendered with hand painted make up and hairstyles to match the models:

And if you thought having the outfit smaller makes it easier to make, you are mistaken; each dress reportedly took double the time a full-size one takes to make.

Above: Drawing on the Dutch tradition of silver plating a baby’s first shoe as a keepsake, the climax of Viktor & Rolf’s Autumn/Winter collection of 2006–07, was a strapless wedding dress with a wide petticoated knee length skirt, silver plated, including even the bride’s bouquet.

The Book / Publication:

Above: A 256 page hardback book, the most comprehensive on the work of Viktor & Rolf to date, including 400 fashion photographers, catwalk images and exclusive illustrations and polaroids, is available. Text by Caroline Evans and Susannah Frankel. Designed by FUEL. Published by Merrell in association with Barbican Art Gallery.

Barbican Art Gallery, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS, United Kingdom

More great stuff from Viktor & Rolf:
Their upside down store in Milan:

Their wild 'word' fashions

image sources: Viktor & Rolf,, Elle UK,, Barbican Gallery and photographers Marcio Madeira and Douglas Lydon


Sara said...

I almost can't believe how many you put together! This post must have taken you forever. Amazing eye candy feast. Thank you. :)

Laura Sweet said...

Glad you appreciated it Sara, took me forever!

karly said...

I'm not sure what's more impressive, the exhibition or the fact that you found all the photos!

kala_way said...

wow, some of those are pretty, but some of them are just super creepy! Creepy fashion looks translated to creepy dolls is like a horror movie waiting to happen, lol

Kimberlee said...

Laura - wow! This must have taken an age - you are an amazing blogger! - I hope you don't mind but I have used some of your images and referenced you accordingly on my blog. What a brilliant post, thank you so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hey there! i went to this exhibition and was guttd i couldnt take photos as Im using viktor and rolf as an inspiration for my college work. These pictures have helped me massively! Thank you so much!

Lucy in the Sky said...

amazing! you are certainly a dedicated blogger! thanks so much for compiling this

C'mon people, it's only a dollar.