Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren play it safe? Not a chance. While other designers have been plumbing the depths of their brand DNA and sometimes coming up empty, the Dutch duo were hacking away at their dresses with a chain saw. Literally. "With the credit crunch and everybody cutting back, we decided to cut tulle ball gowns," Snoeren said.
The gowns he was talking about came at the end of the show. The skirt of a crystal bustier dress was a solid mass of net ruffles, except for the place where a hole had been tunneled front to back and where the edges were chopped away. Another frock was sliced in half with a good six inches between the top and a bottom that seemed to defy gravity. Truly fabulous both in conception and execution, if not all that likely to find a raison d'être outside the pages of glossy fashion magazines—or onstage with the likes of Róisín Murphy. She wore a tulle skirt dress that hid her pregnant belly while she performed on a pedestal at the back of the runway.
Many of the cocktail dresses that preceded the finale, though, did look like they could pass in real life. These married masculine bits of tuxedos and ultra-femme color-blocked pastel plissé, with the remnants of the duo's tulle hack jobs frilling a shoulder, tracing the length of a sleeve, or decorating a bodice like a flower. The designers also dipped into Spring's lingerie drawer, coming up with silk satin bed jackets, camis, and pajamas with peekaboo lace insets. Those were on trend, but the big story was the credit-crunch couture dresses. Horsting and Snoeren haven't always scored with their conceptual games the last few seasons, but today it was a total blast watching them let it rip.