Vivienne Westwood is more than a fashion brand. It’s a tribe, a vibe, a moral code and a way of life. You see it in the way the brand does shows, casting friends, family and Westwood brethren. There’s nobody on the catwalk who wouldn’t wear it in their real life. It all adds to the conviction of the brand – established by Dame Vivienne and now safe in the custody of her husband Andreas Kronthaler.
A live drummer accompanied the models as they sauntered past, exuding the kind of confidence you can’t fake. The clothes have that same sense of self, whether it’s an easy trouser suit worn with tassel loafers or a corseted gown. It felt authentic, it looked authentic and it was. Kronthaler explained that he based the collection on Dame Vivienne Westwood’s personal wardrobe. “I organised and numbered Vivienne’s personal wardrobe, clothes we did together. Revisited. Reworked…Loved the way she dressed. Always the opposite of everybody else,” he said in a statement. From the corduroy suits that she wore for decades, mending them in bed until they fell apart, to the signature teetering platforms, dresses and jackets, everything was cut with Westwood’s distinctive proportions, Kronthaler referenced decades of their work and life together. Westwood aficionados would have spotted the Cosmopolitan Jacket, from the Tied to the Mast SS98 collection, or the knitted Cora Vest and shorts from Cut, Slash & Pull, SS91, named for the designer’s granddaughter Cora Corre, who closed the show in the Infanta dress from the War & Peace, SS12 collection. He mixed different eras together, a blouse from 2001 worn with a 2016 jacket and a 1999 skirt. It’s how true Westwood lovers wear their brand, all at once, remixing eras and collections together, just like Vivienne did. It looked great and proved that a Westwood piece can stay in your wardrobe forever. Alongside the archive references there was plenty of new pieces from a rainbow sequin catsuit to glittering corsets and denim. Many of the models were friends of the house including Honor Fraser (now a gallerist), Tasha Tilburg and Sibyl Buck. They were joined by a young generation who eagerly embrace the house, its look and its values.
Photography courtesy of Vivienne Westwood.