Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren have long had a love affair with the surreal. Who could forget, for instance, theatrical looks like their cutaway gowns from the Spring 2010 collection, or the bed dress worn by Lily Cole in 2005? "Surreal" is a key part of the Viktor & Rolf
DNA. Now, in the midst of a veritable Dada renaissance on the catwalk, the duo domesticated their surrealist bent and translated it into accessible looks featuring various trompe l'oeil effects. The collection was commercial, but not un-clever. Some of the strongest pieces were tops, coats, and dresses with cable knit applied on top—a slightly off look that worked, and was echoed in digital cable-knit prints. Elsewhere, the designers created schematic blazers, faux bustiers, and pleats, all of which were rendered in a purposefully sketchy way, with no intent to truly trick the eye. In a way, the collection was a gag on the surreal. And that was interesting, to be sure, but in the end the standouts of this show were the least conceptual pieces. The draped gray cashmere knits, for instance, were indisputable winners, and duster-length coats with applied cable knit appealed regardless of theoretical premise. "Realism" may be the new Viktor & Rolf métier.