Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren are coming off the opening of their first Viktor & Rolf flagship store in Paris, on the thronged rue Saint-Honoré. Demonstrating their usual fervent commitment to an idea, they covered it floor to ceiling in gray flannel. The exercise ended up getting the juices flowing for both their Fall men's collection and pre-fall women's, which sprang from a common theme: How far can you stretch all that gray flannel?
For men, a long history presents itself. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit is a well-worn archetype of the working-drone salaryman. But V&R realize that even the hardest-working drones aren't just at the office these days; they make time for the gym, too. So in a fusion that's enjoying a durable renaissance in menswear at the moment, they wove together traditional tailoring (some, yes, in gray flannel) and sport. "We were literally thinking about combining the ease of sportswear with looking sharp," the duo said. And with that, they literally combined them.
Gray flannel suiting was heat-sealed at the seams with bright, athletic-style tape. Several pieces were ringed by sweatshirt ribbing (including an actual sweatshirt, wrapped up in it like a Christmas present). They had a punchy energy that could lure in the suit-phobic. Where the mash-up was most on the nose—as in a tailored blazer with jersey sleeves, or a combination tux jacket/varsity jacket—the concept felt overextended. Still, traditional dress codes are slowly getting sanded down, and Viktor and Rolf, with their history of poking fun at pieties, are well placed to do some sanding.