Viktor & Rolf's new Paris store is a rhapsody in gray. It's covered, floor to ceiling, with gray flannel. All that gray has started to seep into their design sensibility. For Pre-Fall, "we started with the idea of gray—gray men's fabrics," Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren said at their showroom. "But that's maybe a little dull. We wanted to make it a little more feminine."

The addition of some of their trademark tricks—a flounce here, an oversize bow there—did help to take things in a more ladylike direction, though the piling of big decorative flourishes onto heavy, monotone fabrics rendered them a bit leaden. Amid acres of gray (even a rose print was sapped of color), what color there was felt like a revelation. Likewise, the simpler pieces—less expected of V&R and perhaps also less distinctive—had the most impact. Of the pieces in the gray story, a flannel jacket, shrugged-on over cigarette pants and a ruffled blouse, looked ready to leap off the gray racks of the gray shop, offering a taste, but not an overpowering one, of V&R's conviction. Sometimes a dab'll do you.