Viktor & Rolf call the tune and choose a store partner

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The Independent Online

In many ways, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, who showed their spring/ summer 2007 Viktor & Rolf women's wear collection yesterday, are the ultimate 21st-century designers. They know how to woo the fashion follower with celebrity: this season, Rufus Wainwright provided the soundtrack, accompanied by a live orchestra.

They know how to provide the press with the perfect photo opportunity: a 1930s ballroom dancing theme was opened by a bona fide professional couple dancing in the designers' clothes.

Above all, Viktor & Rolf know how to market themselves: at the end of the show more dancers - this time all male - twirled the afternoon away against a backdrop advertising the first Viktor & Rolf's men's fragrance, Antidote.

What with all the accompanying brouhaha, it would be all too easy to overlook the clothes entirely. They were, however, sufficiently spectacular to avoid being upstaged. The signature V&R style is very much indebted to menswear and, in particular, the tuxedo that Yves Saint Laurent first offered up to women back in the late 1960s. In the younger designers' hands it came, this time round, with long, narrow black trousers finished with a tiny frill at the waistline and softly structured, short jacket, or with fringing where the classic black satin stripe might be. Then there were trench-coats - ultra-sweet, scattered with cutaway stars or with bouncing, layered tulle skirts.

The staples of the French haute couture are also irresistible to Viktor & Rolf, of course. The bow - that has equally become one of their time-honoured signatures - was, once again, very much in evidence at the empire line of dresses or the throat of ultra-feminine, chiffon blouses. To emphasise the dancing theme, meanwhile, clothing was, in many cases sewn on to a foundation of flesh-coloured net and positively weighed down by crystal. Strappy, rose pink sandals, similarly, featured towering crystal heels. Finally, there was even a frilly white tutu, and very winsome it looked too.

If Viktor & Rolf are today known predominantly for just this sort of concept-driven, upscale designer collection, a little slice of their aesthetic will also soon be available to a broader market. Following in the footsteps of both Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney, the designers are the latest to collaborate with H&M. They have come up with a capsule range for the store due to launch next month.

"All the women's clothes have hearts and all the men's clothes have arrows," Rolf Snoeren told Women's Wear Daily last week. If past experience is anything to go by, it will sell out entirely within minutes of arriving in store.

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