An excursion to a foreign world

As far as the stereotype about urban gay men approaching their forties goes, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren do not deceive while adding a pinch of seriousness to their worldly concerns by means of glasses with thick black frames.

I have never been a fashionista myself, and will probably not become one. The thought of spending any significant amount of my time hunting new designs and attending the mass leaves me totally unphased. Yet, a one hour excursion on the third floor of the Barbican Arts Centre in London proved to be both a refreshing and enlightening experience.

A friend, dear among the dearest, brought me to a fashion exhibition in the City of London. He intended this experiment both as an initiation and as a test for my taste — I would hear “I wonder if you will like it” at least thrice before we eventually squeezed the last hours of our trip together in the Barbican Centre.

The key works of Dutch fashion designers Viktor and Rolf were on display in a two-floor exhibition hall. Visitors are there invited to follow a sequence of rooms around a central doll house, where each of the hall’s rooms would match a room in the doll house and contain a couple models and a projection screen.

Describing the collection and its qualities would far exceed my vocabulary skills, so I will not dwelve into details here. However, the purpose of this note today is to stay as a reminder of how touched I was by the amount of creative work and creative diversity that was concentrated in these fifty-something models. Unexpected in a fashion exhibit, I felt more respect and admiration for these tailors than I have for many painters in art musea.

Add this to the brutal style of the estate of which the Barbican Centre is part, its stained grey ragged concrete walls and columns contrasting with the lush and lively yet constrained small lake that it contains, and you get a picture of a foreign urban world of sorts — obscurely pure and devoid of irregularities, where nature is enclosed, and where the only form of art is worn somptuously as unique and breathtaking clothes.

I discovered a world of dreams, made for and by them. London is a city of many surprises.