Take a close look at the floor in these images: It’s a trompe l’oeil print of herringbone parquet covered in sports tape, as if Viktor & Rolf‘s monsieur had plans to play a game of pickup in his hôtel particulier. A volley between active and formal drove much of the Spring collection, which Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren presented privately in their Paris office. Often, both moods were explored within a single piece, such as drawstring pinstriped pants—half in nylon, half in cotton—which were roomy enough for a jog around the park. The strongest example: a cubist patchwork in paillettes and metallic-yarn embroidery on a standard-issue gray sweatshirt. That same pattern—the designers said it originated as camouflage—showed up on a denim jacket through a unique “discharge” process, and as a jacquard on one of V&R’s nonconformist tuxedos. Unsurprisingly, they employed various visual tricks: A cotton dress shirt looked at first glance like business as usual until you noticed its stripes warping as if they surged with energy. A knit layer and T-shirt were integrated as a single piece so that it appeared as a finessed sport jersey.
All of this scored V&R points for inspired
design—and helped even out the few fouls, including a sweatshirt fronted with “2015” that already felt past its prime. Some of the casual suiting was unremarkable to a point that no one would mourn its absence: Snoeren and Horsting do much better when pushing the boundaries rather than playing by the rules. When it was suggested to the duo that Parisian men seem to be embracing athletics, both seemed surprised it has taken this long. “Where we are, guys are always into sports,” said Horsting, referring to their base in Amsterdam. “It’s kind of unusual not to be. It’s such an important part of life for everyone.” If that’s really their mind-set, their next move should be actual activewear.