The Reading List: Viktor and Rolf Fairy Tales

It’s an emerging trend for designers to segue into telling fairy tales.  As usual, Viktor and Rolf are at the forefront of such a trend.  Fairy Tales is the English translation of their Dutch language book Sprookjes, which was published in 2009.

Unlike recent offerings from the pedigree of Christian Lacroix’ Sleeping Beauty or Manolo Blahnik’s The Elves and The Shoemaker, this slim volume of charming tales (involving disco hedgehogs, girls with candyfloss pink hair and the most literal of flowerbombs) is not lavishly illustrated.  Instead, the stories are punctuated with the occasional elegant, symbolic sketch and winding trellises of ribbon in the spare palette of black, white and shocking pink that punctuates the pages.

The charm, as with almost everything Viktor and Rolf does, is all in the subtext, the base notes, what lies at the root of their stories.

On first glance, this would appear to be one of those typical books that is more for the adults than the children.  With other fashion designer’s fairytales (which is slowly turning into a literary sub-category of it’s own) the fairyland is somehow tied up in the alternate universe of the designer; a wonderful, colourful fairyland where imagination runs riot and the princesses all have heaving wardrobes that *gasp* any little girl can aspire to have – as long as she has the money. Not so here.

In Fairy Tales, the little princess who appears to have everything soon learns the value of her possessions and the cost of her ungratefulness.

The tales are often quirky, bright and carry a thin veneer of melancholy.  This book isn’t a visual medium, but rather a storytelling one.  The words are meant to be spoken out loud, acted out.  The stories are ideal for children and adults alike, the disenfranchised or isolated, or those in search of some original escapism.

This is Viktor and Rolf though.  Don’t expect it to be an ordinary picture book.

Viktor and Rolf Fairy Tales is published by Hardie Grant

3 thoughts on “The Reading List: Viktor and Rolf Fairy Tales

  1. Just bought this for my goddaughter and after having read a few of the tales myself I am going to buy another for my own daughter!!

    Charming, quirky, elegant and the tales are written in a very easy to read and understand style (not full of the usual “olde worlde” type text you usually get in Fairy Tales!)

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