Fashion's love affair with bourgeois dress was as passionate as ever at Viktor & Rolf's autumn/winter ready-to-wear show in Paris yesterday.
The look that Catherine Deneuve embodied in the Luis Buñuel film, Belle De Jour, was in safe hands. Ms Deneuve was dressed by a young Yves Saint Laurent for that masterpiece, and the Dutch designers behind the V&R label have long been indebted to the French master for inspiration. Again, they blithely romped through his signatures from tulip dresses and pussy-bow blouses to smart day suits and the classic Le Smoking, derived from the man's tuxedo and first shown more than 40 years ago.
The collection opened with an exploration of the latter in particular. Models came out in perfect little black dresses each bearing a hint of the masculine.
From then on, the designers broadened their reference points to embrace an overblown, wasp-waisted silhouette that harked back to Christian Dior's New Look.
Finally, the work of Coco Chanel was also in evidence in boxy cardigan jackets and a colour palette that was mostly monochrome.
If ever there was doubt that this offering was entirely steeped in the history of the haute couture, proof came in a closing sequence embellished with rows of tiny, opalescent buttons, on delicate camisole tops or even the fullest of skirts.
Models faces, caged in nets of fine plaited hair, added to the gentle melancholy. This was a slightly sinister touch as best befits a darkly romantic vision of womanhood.Reuse content