PFW: VIKTOR AND ROLF S/S 2014

Deconstructionists have definitely taken over Paris Fashion Week. While we’ve seen the method utilized to some degree in every city this month, nowhere has it been more prevalent than it is in Paris. Given their Belgian background and friendship with Renzo Russo, it wasn’t surprising to see Viktor and Rolf devote a whole collection to deconstruction. What was interesting was the method in which they chose to do so. Meet the Viktor and Rolf rebel schoolgirl.

Starting with a one-shouldered blazer that fastens on the right side, the spring/summer 2014 collection has all the pieces of a traditional school uniform, right down to the crest patch. There are buttondown white shirts and pleated skirts and knitted sweaters, just as one would expect. However, when the duo puts them all together in a single ensemble, it takes on whole new proportions.

Sure, the first thing one is likely to notice is those jackets. Whatever style starts on one side, be sure a very different one finishes on the other, usually in a contrasting color. Those white shirts? They are punched cotton laced with studs and spikes, giving shirt collars a very hard rock feel rather than anything ready for algebra class. The winning piece of the collection is a grey double-pleated skirt that would be a challenge to maintain but works a wonderful effect for the person wearing it.

The palette is understandably limited, given the subject matter. Blues and greys dominate, with black and white pieces working mostly in the background. In addition to the cotton, there is plenty of neoprene, especially in the jackets, and a surprising amount of mesh, woven tightly enough in most cases that one may not realize at first that it is indeed mesh.

One of the things the boys have done well is create a line of separates that don’t rely on their partner pieces to look good. Take a piece, any piece, and insert it into your wardrobe and enjoy the transformation it provides. I would suggest starting with that grey skirt.

If there is a downside here, it is that deconstructionism has been so prevalent this season that it stands on the verge of becoming mainstream, rather than the rebellious fashion statement it was intended to be. When the revolution becomes bourgeois, where does the rebel go next? Back to pretty?  We will be interested to find out.

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