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The most superlative terms are insufficient to describe the exquisite wonder of Viktor & Rolf’s latest contribution to the art of wearable sculpture. It is a rare enough phenomenon at even the best fashion shows to hear gasps of aesthetic pleasure, yet it happened more than once in the course of this show. V&R’s orchestration of the floral motif was equaled only by Chanel’s Alice in Wonderland décor through which models Cheshire-catwalked with magic flowers.
V&R’s attention to headwear was so lavish that there was no need for additional staging. Amplifying the floral inspiration of their ready-to-wear collection displayed last October, V&R pulled out all the stops in their couture collection offering a spectacle that seemed to cross the rustic beauty of a Van Gogh painting with a surreally sprouting dream of kaleidoscopic attire from the court of Louis XVI.
Luxuriating straw hats germinated to both sides of the gangway to the extent that models had to move choreographically to the side as they passed each other. At times it felt like witnessing a procession of royal Maypole celebrations in which, to echo a poem by Andrew Marvell, each shepherdess was Queen of May. The musical score was also perfectly adapted, offering a soothing lullaby tune evoking a Luilekkerland milk and honey harmony spiked with a deep bass techno beat that made you feel you were both in the future and in the distant bucolic past simultaneously.
In a good fashion show, there will be a highlight, if you’re lucky even a showstopper moment; it’s difficult to point out when this occurred in the V&R show as every piece was a masterpiece of incremental variation on the last. The sculptural magic that escaped from the batik A-line babydoll dresses with their craquelé indigo lines and 3D flowers was breathtakingly enhanced by the sprays of wheat radiating from the sun-queen hats.
One of the models looked like a pastoral depiction of Danaë receiving the golden wheat-shower of Jupiter’s essence. This dazzling decorativeness was soberly accompanied by discreet floralprint flip-flops and a broad collar stitched with an intermittently appearing band that evoked the tailor’s stitch as well as the white road-markings that graced V&R’s fall/winter collection. All in all, it was more than just a balm for sore eyes, it was a landmark in the history of couture. It has placed V&R in the same league as the most inventive, audacious and sumptuous of the heritage brands.