"Why do birds suddenly appear, every time you are near? Just like me, they long to be close to you." With Karen Carpenter on the loudspeakers, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren sent out a Harlequin Romance of a Spring collection…but not in the damsel-in-distress-with-her-corset-coming-undone paperback-novel-cover kind of way. It was the myriad double-entendre possibilities of their concept that engaged the surrealism-loving duo, and it made for a charming show.

After opening with a white duchesse-satin jacket with a Pierrot collar and matching ultrawide pants, and working through several more monochromatic ruffled looks, out fluttered a clue: a long baby-pink dress with diamonds of black lace near the hem. From there, the harlequins came fast and quick, both in literal interpretations (contrasting patent triangles on high-heeled shoes and booties) and in the more abstract (say, a short drop-waist dress with a round, frilled collar resembling the top half of a Commedia dell'Arte clown's outfit).

As unlikely as it sounds, the white, pink, and black collection with touches of timely wallpaper flowers was as wearable as it was conceptual. (A welcome change after last season, when they made their models wear those ill-conceived lighting and speaker rigs of steel.) Wearable, that is, save for the violins: as an intarsia decoration on a sweater dress, well, OK; but as a necklace, or doubled up and plopped at the shoulders of a long coat? Only fit for a clown.