Paris gets dolled up at Viktor and Rolf

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Dutch design duo Viktor and Rolf took a doll's wardrobe as blueprint for their Spring-Summer look unveiled Saturday in Paris with outsized stitches threaded along the seams of high-waisted silk and lace dresses.

Two singers, perched atop five-metre (16-foot-) high sweeping pleated skirts, one pink one black, opened the show with a live cover of a hit by edgy French rap outfit NTM -- before their skirts parted, and the models stepped out.

"We wanted to create something that was sweet and feminine, but also bold and graphic, and we thought of a doll's wardrobe, with big stitching, big lace, everything enlarged," Rolf Snoeren, one half of the design team, said backstage.

Black and pink silk jackets, skirts and bermuda shorts were threaded in a simple stitch with thick, bright ribbon -- in bright 1980s-like pink, turquoise or green -- that ran up and down seams, across hemlines or down the breast.

A floor-sweeping black evening gown, for instance, had deep pockets and pink stitching all down the side seams of its skirt, across a straight-cut bustier, and down the breast in two stripes.

"It's playing with an almost cliched kind of femininity but in a very new and exaggerated kind of way, so that it becomes ironic," Snoeren said.

Viktor and Rolf used a magnifying-glass effect on waist-hugging belts, which were extra-wide with the ubiquitous stitch motif or intricate curled patterns, worn over floor-sweeping A-line dresses, mostly in black or salmon pink.

Jewellery was big and bold too, with thick, glittery collars. There were wide-strapped bra tops -- a strong trend this year -- and hair was combed back and pinned at the end in bouffant pony-tails that suggested the wiry wig of an old-fashioned doll.

A few extravagant dresses stepped into the realm of science-fiction, with the stitching motif repeated between rows of giant folds, like a dragon's scales, that bulked out shoulders and widened skirts.

But the design duo returned for evening to pretty-as-a-picture pink silk and lace gowns whose high-waisted, A-line cut made the models' legs look endless, and for the finale to a full face veil over a bridal dress in ivory padded silk.

© 2011 AFP

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