Viktor & Rolf dress for Boijmans

January 23, 2019

Han Nefkens has bought an extraordinary dress from fashion house Viktor & Rolf at Paris Fashion Week. The patron has just announced that he is donating the work, called 'I Want a Better World', to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

"When I saw the dress, I knew that this iconic work fits the twenty-three other designs by Viktor&Rolf that I have donated to the museum over the past few years. The museum-worthy look, the original concept and the professional execution appealed to me, but it was the statement that touched me: 'I Want a Better World'”, says patron Han Nefkens.


The dress is part of the haute couture spring / summer collection for 2019. With this collection V&R investigate the expressive power of clothing. Museum director Sjarel Ex calls the gift “a beautiful dress, which shows both the vulnerability and the strength of the human condition".

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The dress donated to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen by Han Nefkens. 'I Want a Better World', Haute couture spring/summer collection 2019. Photo credits: Viktor&Rolf.


For the Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge initiative, Nefkens already gave other Viktor&Rolf creations to the museum in Rotterdam, for example the famous 'Coral Dress' from the 'Cutting Edge Couture' collection from 2010, 'The DREAM ON'coat from the ‘NO collection’ of winter 2008/09, or the three 'Van Gogh Girls' from the haute couture summer collection of 2015. In 2018. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen loaned the majority of these to neighboring museum Kunsthal for a successful retrospective of the Dutch designer duo. Although the donated Viktor&Rolf works are not currently on display, the pieces will be on show in Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, which opens its doors in 2021.

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Earlier Viktor&Rolf donations of Han Nefkens: three 'Van Gogh Girls' from the haute couture spring/summer collection of 2015. Photo credits: Viktor & Rolf.

Surreal beauty

This season Viktor&Rolf present a group of exaggerated romantic tulle dresses.

The dresses are big but airy, with transparent ruffles and bows. The execution of the colorful collection took over 8 kilometers of tulle. The silhouettes, sculptural and extreme, varying from different A-lines to hourglass, are acutely expressive: each dress forms the background for a text that is executed in layers of laser-cut tulle. These texts are mainly one-liners: slogans as well as captions of social media or t-shirts for souvenirs. The juxtaposition of these seemingly unrelated elements results in a typical Viktor&Rolf expression of surreal beauty.

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Haute couture spring/summer collection 2019. Photo credits: Viktor&Rolf.

Han Nefkens H+F Collection

In 2000, Han Nefkens started collecting contemporary art for the H+F Collection, a collection spread over various museums, named after Han and his partner Felipe. Ever since, he is not only active as a collector, but also as a passionate initiator of art projects in museums and art institutions. With the support of Han Nefkens, various exhibitions, interventions, art commissions and collection expansions have been made possible in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in recent years. In 2005, for example, the acquisition of the huge 'Notion Motion' installation by Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson was made possible by Han Nefkens and the permanent video installation 'Let your Hair Down' by Pipilotti Rist was realized on behalf of the H+F Patronage. In 2011, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen dedicated an exhibition to him: 'Han Nefkens - 10 Years of Patronage'.


Han Nefkens has also made purchases from other fashion designers, including Walter van Beirendonck, Craig Green, Rejina Pyo and Christophe Coppens. These are included in the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen as long-term loans. The works together form a separate collection called: Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge.

In Transit

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will renew from 2019 onwards. The program continues and the famous museum collection remains visible at institutions & museums, in Rotterdam school classes, perhaps in a location on Rotterdam South and from fall 2021 in Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. The collection also travels to the world top of museums.

About Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

The world-renowned art collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has over the span of 170 years expanded to more than 151,000 artefacts, which includes some 63,000 paintings, photos, films, pre-industrial design and design objects, contemporary art installations and sculptures, as well as 88,000 prints and drawings.

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