LFW AW13: Vivienne Westwood Red Label

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Climate Revolution is the only means towards a sound economy. When the general public massively switches on to this fact we will win.

What’s good for the planet is good for the economy.

It seems rather trivial to go on to talk about clothes when  the message Vivienne is trying so hard to get across is one of utmost importance. I have spoken before about the Climate Revolution, not wanting to repeat myself I will just mention the new part of the Climate Revolution Charter Vivienne handed out on the show notes. She used an emblem of two snakes eating each other to represent ‘climate’ and ‘economy’ and how they go hand in hand. Pointing out how our economic system is run for profit and causes huge waste.

Even though the Red Label collection is quite far removed from the outlandish designs Westwood is know for, we can await the Gold Label show in Paris for that, it has design sensibilities of its own. Red Label is now a go-to for the working woman, perfectly tailored suits, easy to wear figure perfecting dresses, prim cardigans. This ethos was echoed by the final model storming down the runway with a clipboard in hand. Was she busy at work, or busy saving the planet? There is no denying these are beautiful clothes, with tailoring quirks characteristic of Westwood which can be dressed up or down as the wearer may choose. The choice for the show, owing to tradition, was to push the boundaries in the hair and make-up departments. The model’s appeared like a Lichtenstien graphic, all bouffant hair and vivid coloured make up, the lines of the face broken up and played around with. There were no forlorn tears over hapless boyfriends from these girls however. Westwood’s girl is always a fighter, forever imbuing the punk spirit as the Dame does herself, taking her walk wearing the t-shirt she designed in support of Julian Assange.

The show opened with a rugby striped midi-length coat in cobalt and maroon, thigh socks to match of course. The tiger stripe was key to the collection, tying together everything from cocoon jackets to a statement metallic dress with layers and layers of tulle underskirt. The pallet was shades of blue and red highlighted with baby pink and shimmering pewter. The influence of the new Red Label design team (Vivienne herself does not design the collection, rather her team takes inspiration from previous works) which was first seen in SS13 is still evident. As with the previous season there are pieces which don’t quite fit with the usual Westwood aesthetic – the loose fitting sequin top, with a vintage 80s feel stands out, however I think they are settling in well. The tailoring of the jackets with the silver orb buttons is a nice touch from the archives whilst the iridescent beetle leather jacket stole the show. Also new to the Westwood team are the shoe makers Peron, replacing Meg as of SS13. I have been divided about how I feel for the loss of Meg, having created many classic designs for Westwood but also fixating of late on the virtually unwearable ‘Skyscraper’ heel – detrimental to sales I am sure. Peron delved back into the shoe archive for SS13 restyling classic boot designs from the SEX years wavy top with kitten heel and taking the Prostitute shoe to new hights- literally, there was a style to suit all tastes. This season the Strobe shoe was back, a large ‘tongue’ licking over the shoe vamp with a cone heel. The Melissa shoes were featured again, this season in transparent and pale pink with oversized chain-style ankle cuffs.

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