Which came first, the idea or the clothes? Oh, how we wish we could grill Viktor & Rolf. The archness of their menswear inspirations is always such that one's initial response is a big fat "Why?" Then one jumps back, takes a deep breath, and wills oneself to surrender to the concept. In this case, it was a twenty-first-century update of Around the World in Eighty Days, with a modern-day Phileas Fogg swanning from culture to culture, integrating colors, textures, and details into his wardrobe. The nouveau-dandy Fogg would duplicate a paisley pattern from India in the beading on his evening jacket. He'd have a dragon from China embroidered on his tie. His passport stamps would make a print for a shirt or a jacket. His modes of transporttrain, sailing ship, hot-air balloonwould inspire another print. His native England would supply the traditional Jermyn Street shirtings (here rendered in silk) and the dandified details, such as a fob chain printed on an evening suit.
So much for the backstory. In their desire to depict a dandy moving from place to place without compromising his innate dilettantism, Viktor & Rolf managed to reconfigure a fisherman's vest as eveningwear. They also delivered a driving coat in double-faced neoprene, which was solid enough to stand up on its own, Fogg or no Fogg. By the time this journey ended, you were left wishing for a little release of the tension that holds Viktor & Rolf's menswear so tight.