Viktor & Rolf's many fashion fans love the often disconcerting drama of their presentations. While that magic may have been missing in the past couple of seasons, it was back in full force for spring. To the sound of a military drum tattoo, the Dutch duo sent out an entirely black collection on an army of female fighter pilots, each clad in anonymous black helmets. The short leather trenches, jackets, and blouses had aggressive, rounded shoulders reminiscent of Claude Montana's eighties power-dressing, but with the very Viktor & Rolf addition of black satin ribbons, tied in bows.
They developed that sense of increasingly sinister chic through a lineup of taffeta bombers with their signature ruffle neck, homage-to-YSL tuxedo suits, and Chanel-like bow-trimmed cotton jackets. As the show drew to a close, with the sound of helicopters beating overhead, the ribbons became more and more vast, dementedly winding themselves around the last model like some surreal Brobdingnagian gift-wrap.
Then, just as it seemed that Viktor & Rolf had gone over to the dark side, the stage revolvedand the world turned pink. "Flowerbomb, Flowerbomb, Flowerbomb," breathed a woman's voice, as a second collection of gowns and suits, all in shades of rose and touches of light beige, paraded the runway. By that time, the penny had dropped. The incantation on the soundtrack is, of course, the name of the new Viktor & Rolf fragrance. The bombardment of color, and the surreal sight of a woman with her head tied in a florist's bag, sent the audience into the slightly hysterical roar of appreciation that marks the climax of a good Viktor & Rolf experience. To finish it off, the extraordinary pair appeared in matching tuxedos, striking a debonair pose in front of the new Flowerbomb ad. Their particular formula of odd-funny sensory and intellectual overload is just the sort of thing that makes Paris remarkable. "We believe in the power of transforming anything into beauty," Viktor Horsting said afterward. "And we all need an extra dose of that these days."