A woman adorned in what looks like pillows, a duvet and carrying a child – this art isn’t wearable in a practical sense. But the Viktor & Rolf exhibition at the NGV justifies the Dutch designers’ self-proclaimed status as fashion artists.

The show features two decades of Viktor & Rolf’s boundary-pushing design, from dramatic, avant-garde gowns, to handmade porcelain dolls – one of which struts robotically on a catwalk.

The Russian Doll collection is an example of the beautiful but totally impractical clothing for which the pair is known. The collection features eight outfits designed to be layered on top of each other, starting with a simple satin dress, then garments of lace, sequin and crystal and on top of those a shapeless, sack-like gown. (In the end the mannequin is draped in about 70 kilograms of fabric).

The duo’s fascination with paper is also on show, so remember to look up at the ceiling.

Kids are encouraged to get creative through displays, multimedia and hands-on activities that mirror the artists’ own experimental approach. (Adults arguably have just as much fun as the kids in the Atelier: Viktor&Rolf for Kids section, or in the selfie-ready, hi-tech booths with moving-image backgrounds).

Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren say “fashion is about creating a dream” and at the NGV you are encouraged to immerse yourself in theirs.

NGV International
180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists is on at the NGV International until February 26.

Broadsheet is a proud media partner of Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists.