This was a strong collection for Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren. Though short on fireworks, the clothes on the runway today were rather eloquent, with a passage of looks with trompe l'oeil hand embroidery standing out as particularly expressive. It was tempting to read this collection as a conversation some young woman might be having with herself as she tries, day by day and moment by moment, to decide what kind of person she is. Is she a bouncy individual who wears a fitted sportif sweater and short, godet-pleated, quilted black leather skirt? Or is she sober and serious and even a little bit militant, outfitted in a trim, double-breasted black wool jumpsuit? Perhaps she's just seething with punkish rage, and wants to rip her clothes apart, as Horsting and Snoeren's cool, fraylike embroideries suggested. And maybe she's just a huge Viktor & Rolf fan, and therefore wants her staple leather jacket to boast a giant, signature Viktor & Rolf bow. Who knows? We each contain multitudes. From the first look out, an abbreviated black dress whose sculpted volumes, depending on how you looked at it, evoked either a rumpled bow or an angry black cloud, this collection was kind of a Rorschach test.
What was absolutely clear, however, was that these clothes were meant to sell: Even the most challenging pieces—the white shirtdresses tricked out with ruffles and lacy fray embroidery—were relatively accessible. And items like a pleat-accented leather jacket, or a flared miniskirt topped by a bow, could conceivably find a warm welcome at your average upscale mall in middle America. Strange days, indeed.