And the Dutch duo of Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren were certainly not going to give up the ghost of giving us a thought-provoking show, even (or especially) when all around them are getting back to basics.
To an industrial soundtrack of drilling machinery, model Kristen McMenamy stood at the start of the catwalk made five times bigger by a huge fur coat. Viktor & Rolf appeared behind her and the trio slowly made their way to a revolving circle halfway down the runway. A second model appeared dressed in only a body. The penny was beginning to drop.
And so Viktor & Rolf played stylist and creators by stripping one layer off the central muse and adding to each of the models coming down the catwalk. But it wasn’t simply a case of swapping coats.
Gilets were reversed from nylon to show fur, trench coats were re-styled as parkas and drawstrings pulled to make different shapes - each layer taking on a new look when passed between models. Ten layers later, when we reached down to a nude basque, the process was reversed and with each new model brought an extra layer and dimension to the muse. The piece de resistance was a huge ruffle hem of a gown, unzipped to create a giant collar. The audience was in rapture.
As well as thinking “goodness, she must be hot under those lights”, the overwhelming emotion was just how much thought and logistical planning had gone in to inter-weaving forty-odd pieces of clothing. At no point did you marvel over the beauty of a piece – focus was purely on the performance.
Viktor & Rolf shook each others hands, left the stage - and one of the most complex styling assignments there ever was – behind.