It’s the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Amsterdam-based high fashion house Viktor&Rolf, and what better way to honour and celebrate the Dutch design duo’s impressive and innovative works than with an exhibition of their collections at the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam? The past 25 years of collaboration have led to works of uncompromising eloquence, pushing the boundaries between art and fashion and steadily ascending the throne as fashion artists.

Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren explored various forms of media, such as videos and installations, before entering the world of haute couture design. Graduating in 1992 from ArtEz Institute in the Netherlands, their interest in fashion came from a mutual fascination with perfume advertisements as much as a shared curiosity about the fashion universe. Their unique collaborative relationship can be interpreted from the way they communicate with each other in person, uncannily feeding off of each other’s ideas and expressing their responses with considered clarity and detail. “We often play with the idea of two people being one, or both of us being of one mind, and we play with our image to express that.”

Compiled by guest curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot, around sixty works of their haute couture collections are now on display, featuring a vast array of giant ruffled shoulders, bold graphic artwork of stripes and checks, and bows and ribbons from their extravagant Flower Bomb ready-to-wear collection from 2005 - just one of the many shows that felt more like a contemporary theatrical performance than a traditional fashion show. Dubbed ‘The Kings of the Netherlands’ in Vogue by the iconic fashion journalist Suzy Menkes, the Dutch couturiers explore themes of romance, rebellion, exuberance and control, classicism and conceptualism, playing with fashion and art to convey them.

You’ll find yourself unpicking a garment the same way you analyse an obscure oil painting in the National Gallery, slowly unravelling the smallest details beneath the meticulous ruffles. Their iconic Performance of Sculptures (2016) collection manifests the duo’s ability to create clothing that directly resembles art, in which boundaries between garment and sculpture were blurred in order to question the relationship between wearer and clothing.

Some might recall their Russian Doll collection of Fall 1999, showcasing a bedecked Maggie Rizer draped in nine layers of haute couture clothing by the hands of Viktor and Rolf whilst stood on a rotating platform. A succession of these radical haute couture shows soon followed, many of which are featured in the exhibition today, including NO (2008), Cutting Edge Couture (2011) and their most recent collection Surreal Satin (2018), flaunting grand masks and headpieces made up of an opulent colour palette and handmade three-dimensional flowers.

Experiencing the unconventional creativity of this innovative duo in the flesh is well worth a trip to Rotterdam, a city suffused with extraordinarily modern architecture and brutalist tower blocks transformed into trendy co-working spaces and vegetarian rooftop restaurants. Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years stays open to the public until the 30th September. You can grab your ticket here.