To the average person (and even for some designers) fashion is just about the clothes--making pretty things for people to wear. But there's much more to fashion for Vivienne Westwood. The godmother of punk knows a thing or two about the power of fashion to affect change, and lately her clothes have been all about saving the planet. Her red label show in London a few weeks ago supported an organization called Cool Earth, which is dedicated to saving the rainforest. At that show, Cheryl was looking for some eco-punk from Dame Westwood, but instead found a subdued collection that you could even wear to work. Well, Cheryl, I'm happy to report the eco-punk was here in Paris at the ballroom of Le Grand Hôtel Intercontinental. I wouldn't recommend wearing this stuff to your corporate day job unless you're looking to stick it to the man. If you are, you should definitely wear Westwood. It was a runway in the round, neon light sticks hanging from the ceiling, and 16-year-old pianist Kyle Nash-Baker sat in the center of it, banging out a soundtrack with immense skill. Models vogued in front of the photo pit.
Westwood's line sheets read a bit loopy--there was stuff about the children of Gaia the Earth Mother and how we're currently living in a world where "unlimited profit and unlimited consumption...lead to disaster"--but the clothes were hopeful and striking, if a little out there, too (as is par for the course with Westwood). The designer also mentioned "the Art Lover" as a "Freedom Fighter for a better world."
Well, here's what those freedom fighters would wear: post-apocalyptic looking mesh dresses and deflated taffeta ball gowns with corsets; luxe swaths of jewel toned silks draped loosely as dresses and tied at the waist; strong tailored jackets over pleated pants; those signature Westwood platform heels, laced up the calves. Westwood cited Chinese calligraphy, Mao jackets, Berber dress, and 17th century corsets as influences. It was all there and more. Westwood is 70 years old but her imagination and creative streak are young and vibrant as ever.
**All photos: Imaxtree