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Sleeping Beauties – Viktor & Rolf

The Paris ready-to-wear shows continued, as Viktor & Rolf strutted their stuff (to the tune of Tori Amos) down the runways.

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Viktor & Rolf: Breathtaking. Yes, the underlying idea was a bedtime story revealed in fantastical bedding-cum-headgear. And yes, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren treated their guests to an enchanting performance by Tori Amos. But the heart and soul of their fall Viktor & Rolf collection was fashion, period. Fashion with the proverbial capital “F,” that is — the kind we all long for when boarding the plane, the kind that fuels the industry, the kind only a very few designers can deliver. This show was a joy to watch, filled with clothes that should be a joy, as well, for retailers to sell and for women to wear.

The theme sprung from the designers’ desire to work with Amos and to stage a show antithetical to fall’s fragrance-launching extravaganza. “After last season, we saw the need to do something intimate, private,” Horsting said. “The idea was a bedtime story because bed is the ultimate safe place. Good things happen in bed. You rest, heal, make love.”

Touché. But it takes rare multitiered talent to translate touchy-feely nighty-night into a stunningly chic fashion event. Horsting and Snoeren spun the fittings of a lady’s bedchamber, all lacy, frilled, down-filled and quilted, the trance-inducing romance of Amos’ crimped red locks and a wealth of amazing tailoring into a magnificent moment. A comforter’s stitching emerged in quilting on a skirt, and the comforter itself in a dreamy ingenue bridal gown, with embroidered red script radiating “I love you.” Strands of pearls made their way from jewel box to shoes, and a bedside rose became the lone color on an alluring corseted gown.

But make no mistake. The real brilliance here was the transformation of an out-there theme into a foil for beautiful, remarkably wearable clothes. So, while some girls were done up with the mood-setting pillow accoutrement, others wore gorgeous shirts with varying degrees of frills, always with simple black pants. And there were fabulous coats, parkas, suits, a back-draped trench. (Ditto, by the way, the song Amos wrote just for the occasion. It may have been based on the Book of Solomon, but she managed to work in the line, “I need this potion, this flower bomb.”) It all played like the kind of dream you don’t want to end. Only waking up is even better, because then you can get dressed.

This story first appeared in the March 3, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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