One of the best fashion-related New Yorker cartoons ever depicts a smiling department-store saleswoman holding up a sweater and telling the customer: “It comes in midnight gray, charcoal gray, slate gray, and gray.”
You’d be hard-pressed to find two more enthusiastic cheerleaders for gray than Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, who not only decorated their new Paris flagship entirely in charcoal felt but also dedicated their fall Viktor & Rolf collection to the gray mélange knit V-neck sweater.
It didn’t lend itself to the most riveting production values, and the dirgelike guitar plucking and wailings of Joan As Policewoman — who performed a torch-song version of “Highway to Hell” on a two-lane set dotted with streetlights — didn’t help.
Yet as forlorn as a gray V-neck might be, the Dutch duo turned out some peppy interpretations, from the blanketlike smock and tank dresses that opened the show to the bedazzled sweaters with asymmetric peplums similar to ones they showed in latex during couture.
Abstractions on the sweater were often striking, particularly V-necks as trompe l’oeil prints on velvet tops. Free-floating panels of gray felt on georgette were arranged to mimic twinsets — a nifty effect. There were flashes of sky blue and orange, plus a groovy white mesh minidress fronted with knit panels and a strip of crystal embroidery. A longer version of the latter style also came in gray.