Vivienne Westwood Red Label Spring 2012: Quiet Anarchy

Having just come from a punk-influenced House of Holland show, I felt primed for punk godmother Vivienne Westwood. While the appearance of Pamela Anderson in the front row felt slightly incongruous (though she’s a big fan), I was ready for some anarchy. Westwood is well-known for embracing and publicizing pet charities, and this season’s was Cool Earth, an organization dedicated to saving the rain forest. I thought maybe I’d be looking at some eco-punk, but no. What I got was a collection of pieces that could go easily to work or out on a date. Strip away the cotton candy hair and theatrical multi-colored faces (done by makeup madwoman Alex Box), and you had a downright wearable collection of clothes. And I say that in a good way. Punk is dead, people. Westwood’s version of punk now manifests itself in the mishmash of looks--over 50 in this show--that she puts out.
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Having just come from a punk-influenced House of Holland show, I felt primed for punk godmother Vivienne Westwood. While the appearance of Pamela Anderson in the front row felt slightly incongruous (though she’s a big fan), I was ready for some anarchy. Westwood is well-known for embracing and publicizing pet charities, and this season’s was Cool Earth, an organization dedicated to saving the rain forest. I thought maybe I’d be looking at some eco-punk, but no. What I got was a collection of pieces that could go easily to work or out on a date. Strip away the cotton candy hair and theatrical multi-colored faces (done by makeup madwoman Alex Box), and you had a downright wearable collection of clothes. And I say that in a good way. Punk is dead, people. Westwood’s version of punk now manifests itself in the mishmash of looks--over 50 in this show--that she puts out.
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Having just come from a punk-influenced House of Holland show, I felt primed for punk godmother Vivienne Westwood. While the appearance of Pamela Anderson in the front row felt slightly incongruous (though she’s a big fan), I was ready for some anarchy.

Westwood is well-known for embracing and publicizing pet charities, and this season’s was Cool Earth, an organization dedicated to saving the rain forest. I thought maybe I’d be looking at some eco-punk, but no. What I got was a collection of pieces that could go easily to work or out on a date. Strip away the cotton candy hair and theatrical multi-colored faces (done by makeup madwoman Alex Box), and you had a downright wearable collection of clothes. And I say that in a good way. Punk is dead, people. Westwood’s version of punk now manifests itself in the mishmash of looks--over 50 in this show--that she puts out.

Suits and shirtdresses were done in pinstripes and pastels, and draped dresses with cowl necks and backs looked polished. Westwood loves an unstructured lapel, and they ranged from loose and languid to puffed up and three-dimensional. A Westwood show wouldn’t be complete without some plaid, and this standard was sprinkled liberally on skirts and tops. Blue and yellow watercolor prints punctuated the run-of-show on simple, drapey dresses, and would not have looked out of place on Kate Middleton. (Remember her crack about Kate "catching up in style"?)

Things got a little dressier towards the end, with molten silver and gold mini dresses that absolutely had to appeal to Pam Anderson. A red strapless gown with a bit of Scarlett O’Hara flounce on the bottom was lovely.

The best part? Watching the Grande Dame herself, ginger hair blazing, take her triumphant walk down the runway with her gang of models. God save the queen--we mean it, man.

**All photos: Imaxtree