"We love fashion, but it's going so fast. We wanted to say 'No' this season." Thus spoke Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren to a group of devoted fans and curious reporters eager to parse the meaning of a somewhat difficult Fall show that began with a precise gray trench, the word "No" popping out from its chest in 3-D, and ended with a strapless black tulle dress gathered below the knee and embroidered with the phrase "Dream on."

More than three weeks into the collections, with another five days left to go, no one is going to argue the point with the Dutch designers. And they did manage to express the frustrations we all feel, with characteristic irony: with staples (as in metal fastenings, not wardrobe classics). They were golden staples, to be precise, and they stood in for seams at the waist of a peplum jacket and in pleats on a pair of baggy trousers; they fastened ruffles to the shoulder and hem of an asymmetrical party frock; and they became a form of glam embroidery on a strapless, tiered gown. Without them, these clothes (the frilled organza blouses, the nipped-waist red sheath, the belted fox coat) would've landed squarely on the predictable side of French chic. With them, and in such great numbers, the results felt gimmicky.