It's twenty years since Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren founded their label - it's called after their first names Viktor & Rolf. They have not been part of the haute couture season for more than a decade. These are, of course, the designers who came up with ground-breaking and spectacular moments such as Atomic Bomb: couture clothing inspired by nothing more obviously glamorous than a mushroom cloud. Viktor & Rolf were also the brains behind Russian Doll: a single model, Maggie Rizer, was dressed by the designers in an entire collection, ten looks layered one over the other, all before the audience's very eyes.
They have been missed. It was a pleasure, then, to discover that they would be closing the autumn collections in Paris and on typically uncompromising form to boot. The pair had been thinking, they said, 'of mindfulness' and the most 'striking symbol of mindfulness is the Zen garden'.
And so twenty models, one for each year, all dressed in the identical black fabric, although treated in different ways, took their place, adopting postures resonant of strategically placed rocks and stones that even, on the odd occasion, went so far as to sprout blades of grass.
If that weren't clever enough, garments were cut specifically to accommodate those poses, moulded to make space for a girl sitting with her knees pulled under her chin, say, or curling into the pose of the child. Upstanding, such far from conventional forms were increasingly intriguing.
'We want to divide the ready-to-wear and conceptual sides,' the designers stated before the show, adding that from now on they will be a regular fixture on this most rarefied of calendars.
And that's good news. Viktor & Rolf's collections have never upheld conservative values and they add another layer to haute couture for that.