A little Dolly on the catwalk

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Country and western rhinestones meet French couture in Paris

The tallest evening gowns the fashion world has ever seen – one sugar pink, the other black – dominated the catwalk at the Viktor & Rolf show in Paris yesterday. They turned out to be worn by singers on stilts – the French girl band Brigitte, to be precise – who provided a live soundtrack and whose pleated skirts parted like curtains through which models emerged.

Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren – the names behind the label – are not strangers to this type of blockbuster presentation. Models dressing and undressing on stage, tap dancing or painted matt black from head to toe have all made an appearance on the Viktor & Rolf catwalk before now.

There was a distinct country and western flavour to the clothes proper this time around. Rhinestones aplenty, giant stitching in contrasting colours and a predominantly short, sassy silhouette were pure Dolly Parton meets French couture. These designers are invariably attached to the latter: pussy-cat bows, little black dresses and an ongoing love affair with ruffles and frills all characterise their work. Such bourgeois fashion folly was, once again, blown up to cartoonish proportions, raising the question: however amusing they may be, will they translate into real clothes?

Earlier in the day, Junya Watanabe came up with sweet lace dresses embroidered with peacock feathers and meadow flowers and cropped biker jackets with overblown layered organza sleeves. While far from banal, this was the sort of clothing which is aimed squarely at the most discerning of fashion followers, so proudly individual and lovely it is to see. As if to drive home Watanabe's skills as a pattern cutter par excellence, his show ended with a sequence of immaculate and discreetly complex gabardine trench coats – a classic garment reinvented to the most elegant effect.

Anyone who has marvelled at Tilda Swinton's statuesque appearance on the red carpet recently will be pleased to know that the designer who dresses her most regularly, Haider Ackermann, was on similarly fine form. Ackermann proposed an entirely modern take on evening wear. Tailoring cut in fine silks and showcasing gorgeous colour juxtapositions – fern, teal, rose pink, thistle – appeared as intricately executed as it will ultimately be a pleasure to wear.

The Paris collections close the international spring/summer 2012 season that began in New York at the beginning of last month. They are home to shows by the world's most famous fashion names as well as the avant-garde. Finishing on Wednesday, high points will undoubtedly include Karl Lagerfeld's show for Chanel – always a big-budget production; Sarah Burton's first offering since her creation of Catherine Middleton's wedding dress for Alexander McQueen; Louis Vuitton, designed by Marc Jacobs; and Miu Miu – Miuccia Prada's second line

Yesterday ended, meanwhile, with the debut of Kanye West's fashion line. West has followed the fashion circuit more assiduously than most for some years now, and this is therefore a potentially sound business proposition, however unlikely that may seem.

Suggested Topics
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

    £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

    Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

    C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

    C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

    Day In a Page

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home