Vivienne Westwood: Ready-To-Wear SS24

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day serves as the central tenet to Vivienne Westwood’s SS24 collection. The theatre, a free space where “ideas can and should be represented uncensored”, becomes the backdrop. 

The dreamy collection and accompanying campaign were photographed and filmed in one of Vivienne Westwood’s favourite places, the Globe Theatre – the historic Elizabethan theatre constructed in 1599 and where William Shakespeare penned his famous plays. The same place that the Dame performed her speech for Letters to the Earth – a global participatory campaign in response to the planetary crisis aiming to inspire people everywhere to include their voice in a global call for climate action from our world leaders – around COP26 in 2021, the campaign comes full circle for the brand, who clearly revel in digging into the late iconoclast’s archive, honouring her legacy with grace. 

Westwood’s eclectic gang of characters bumble about the theatre, their business shirts blown-up, exaggerated, twisted, and worn with acid-green madras tartan that drips down bags. In Westwood’s Globe, “everybody is who they want to be.” Gender-blending denim, tailoring and accessories are intentionally washed and worn; tapestry fabrics are cut and frayed to display the impact of time. While hand-sprayed, vegetable-dyed knitwear and poplin silhouettes are daubed with pigments, classical prints and distressed leather, cartoon-y spots and bold zig zag stripes are inspired by Pablo Picasso‘s designs for the 1920 ballet Le Tricorne. 80s power suiting is combined with contemporary sportswear in an unexpected mashup of ideas, and 1920s Hollywood costume designs mingle with Elizabethan features. Francois Boucher’s kiss of Hercules and Omphale circa 1732 becomes the protagonist dancing across louche gowns, punkish cut-out bodysuits, baggy tees and bikinis. 

It’s a playful ‘play’ on nuanced classics and staple Westwood silhouettes with folkloric flare, teasing a Shakespearean summer for 2024. 

Photography by Paolo Colaiocco.

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