I first fell in love with Westwood as a teenage boy. In the early 90s I saw a Vivienne Westwood t-shirt in an issue of The Face. It had two gigantic silver spunking penises on the chest and her signature around the hem. The model looked, cool, edgy, dangerous and sexy, all the things most designers struggle to achieve in an entire collection Westwood had done in one t-shirt. Cut to many years later and I find myself in the queue for what would prove to be the most baroque and grandiose show I saw at LFW. The Vivienne Westwood Red Label show was held at the Royal Courts of Justice and the 19th century Victorian Gothic architecture proved to be the ultimate backdrop to this ready-to-wear collection. Westwood isn’t to everyone’s taste but no-one can deny the inimitable and unique way she mixes fabrics and patterns, or her trademark silhouette. Every time I see the Westwood orb logo, based on the ‘globus cruciger’, my stomach does a little flip in excitement… I cant think of any brand I get quite so excited about. Anyway, enough about me, let’s get down to business…
All the signature styles and fabrics were present. Pinstripes, multi-colored tartans, argyle knee socks and animal prints all combined to create classic Westwood ensembles. There’s a complexity to how Westwood puts together these outfits. The ‘female dandy’ trouser suits stood out from the rest of the looks that typify the modern English eccentric.
Hats in the shape of crowns made a welcome reappearance, I’m hoping they catch on because I have a hunch I’d look great in one. Multicoloured feathers were a new addition to the oeuvre, they adorned everything from shoes to dresses and coats. Red Label is the more commercial side of the brand, so most of the looks were very wearable. Pencil skirts, welly boots and cute jackets stayed true to the Westwood aesthetic whereas frills and bows on blouses and skirts made for a more high street friendly translation of post-punk couture.
I’m envious of the womenswear as it seems so much more celebratory of the female form than the menswear is for us guys but that’s just jealousy talking. It was an amazing show and if the clothes and surroundings weren’t exciting enough there was always the Black Sabbath soundtrack… I also had the great pleasure of seeing Pete Burns up close (his skin is actually flawless, in a plasticky kinda way) but of course there was only one star that night, the Grand Dame herself… all hail the real Queen of England.
Words by Warren Beckett – Photos Style.com
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