Viktor & Rolf’s Fall 1999 Haute Couture show took place in near darkness. A single spotlight trained on supermodel Maggie Rizer as she stood, affectless and immobile, dressed in a simple burlap shift dress and flats atop a small rotating platform. After each rotation, Viktor & Rolf designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren scurried out and added another layer to Rizer: an impossibly sparkly bell-sleeved jacket, a voluminous patterned 1970s-inspired dress, a roll-neck brocade coat. Sometimes entirely new garments were added, other times a new sleeve was affixed, transforming an existing layer. Rizer’s shoulders hiked up near her ears as her body was swallowed by the proportions of the final look: a massive tweed tent with an enormous three-dimensional rose affixed to one side. This show, a play on the Russian nesting doll, encapsulates Viktor & Rolf’s wry humor, their ability to invent and surprise and the very breadth of their imaginations, which appear, even eighteen years later, utterly staggering.

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