Everything in moderation. Since the dawn of time, the saying has kept man from committing crimes of abundance, and designers from taking their themes to extremes. Saturday’s Viktor & Rolf show in the Jardin des Tuileries was a study in what happens when this age-old word of advice is broken as the duo presented a Spring/Summer 2014 collection based on school uniforms. If the uniforms themselves didn’t give it away, there were crests and insignia to back up the idea, and more pleats, checks and buttoned-up white shirts than you’d see colliding with the Holland Park carpooling on a Monday morning. And if that didn’t give it away either, a soundtrack of Joan as Policewoman covers of Britney Spears’ Baby, One More Time and Pink Floyd’s The Wall made sure to highlight exactly what it was all about. And just in case anyone out there till hadn’t quite got the point, the invitation, the catwalk and the backdrop featured a wall motif as a nod to the Pink Floyd classic. (On a side note, David Gilmour’s fashion editor daughter actually happened to be covering the show.)
While it wasn’t a bad collection, it was oversaturated by itself, and hardly improved by the bad atmosphere present from start to finish. From the sulky models, who really looked like moody teenagers on their way to some dreaded classroom, to Joan’s dismal cover versions of really powerful songs (sorry, but doing that to Britney is blasphemy), and the designers’ somewhat morose bow at the end, it seemed Viktor & Rolf would have been a lot more inspired if they’d cut class and let their inner rebels out a little. When the collection showed tiny specks of something just slightly sexy – or indeed rebellious – like in skimpy skirts or studded shirt collars, it instantly changed character for the better.