Paris Fashion Week Spring Summer 2012 report: Viktor & Rolf

02 October 2011

Last season Viktor and Rolf managed to scare the bejesus out of their audience with their army of scarlet-visaged models, wearing solemn expressions and the Dutch duo’s version of amped-up militaria, complete with armadillo-like articulated sleeves and jumbo double collars on their greatcoats.

For spring and summer we saw instead something approaching the same couture-quality operatic pieces, this time a unsubtle play on femininity, deliberately parodying gender norms by exaggerating them to a theatrical degree. Horsting and Snoeren had attired their models like the inhabitants of a fantasy dolls house with stark black contrasting with an eye-hurtingly too-bright pot-pourri palette of candy shades like peach, ballerina pink and baby blue. The stage was set for the structured feminine collection by the musical duo Brigitte towering about the catwalk atop skirts/tents that expanded to create the backdrop, resembling the interior of a sugary pink cabaret revue bar. Very burlesque. But despite the fluttering fake eyelashes in hot pink/red, the comparisons to showgirls stopped there.

There were stiff, sticky-out skirts, A-line skirts, crop-tops and boxy jackets, everything in a bright colour, (or matt black) with detail provided by what looked like oversized stitching in a contrast shade, the kind of flourishes that reminded us of the Borrowers, who had to make their clothes in miniature size with human-sized thread. On the more daytime-appropriate looks that opened the show this looked wicked, although when the flouncing ball gown creations that followed them down later in the show, already encumbered with numerous bells and textile whistles, patterns and frilled layers, it became a dementedly fantastical concept.

A finale of floor-sweeping Oscar worthy dresses each re-capped on an idea from earlier in the show – the stitching, the shiny peach tone, a blown-up lace squirly-whirly pattern. Could we imagine any of their more eccentric Hollywood muses, e.g. Tilda Swinton, rocking up to an awards ceremony in any of these? We think she’d go for the stiff collared lace print tux jacket from earlier in the show.


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