Fashion is ridiculous, a pathetic parody of what it used to be… The Vivienne Westwood Red Label spring/summer 2016 collection takes a political side just before the show, and gets even better with the ‘Austerity is a Crime’ and ‘Fracking is a Crime’ signs held by some other activist-models located on a balcony just above the audience (‘fracking’ is a controversial procedure used to extract oil and gas by drilling the earth with a dangerous mixture of chemicals and water). Whenever there’s a Vivienne Westwood show, everybody knows and waits for her anti-government demonstrations, which this time, however, may put the designer under a bad light. In fact, while some have surely agreed with Westwood’s protest against fracking, which is one of the most discussed topics in England at the moment, not everyone appreciated her anti-fashion comments, saying it is extremely hypocritical of her to despise what made her not only famous but, above all, wealthy.
The show began with police sirens and then proceeded with people screaming slogans, like the highly controversial ‘Hashtag-Twitter-Tumblr-Instagram’, which may be seen as an attempt to remind us of what the real important things in life are. As the first models stomp out, we quickly understand the show’s major theme: dichotomy. With casual dresses, delicate lines and pastels colors, almost all Vivienne’s models have one thing in common: their outrageous makeup. While some of you may look at it as a sort of Mad Max tribute, those black thick lines across the forehead actually represent robber-masks, and surely call into question the clean and somehow conservative lines of the clothes. Is Vivienne trying to tell us we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or is this just another way to explain her ‘Fashion is a Parody’ statement?
Although the political leitmotiv took most of the audience’s attention, Westwood’s great tailoring skills didn’t go unnoticed. While fitted jackets and elegant ruched frocks remain the undisputed protagonists, folded off-the-shoulders dresses in linens take her signature look to a more delicate level. High-neck kimono dresses and deconstructed oversized chemisiers probably are the most genuinely unconventional pieces of the collection, the pastels colors of which and A-line skirts take the attention away from Westwood’s purposes: make us focus on bigger issues.
Anyway, although most of the pieces show feminine pastels colors, the lineup does have brighter and more vivid tonalities like red, blue and yellow. As for the prints, on the other hand, Vivienne seems to be stuck on the floral graphics. It is interesting to notice that, while most of the jackets have mannish cuts, there is a solo vinyl piece with tied waist that is surely going to become a future must have. Furthermore, as already seen in other collections, with Vivienne’s collection the metallic print trend has another follower.
Punk rock queen par excellence, Vivienne Westwood’s collection seems nothing but puck. However, regarding the fact that fashion is a parody of what it used to be, not being punk might actually be the new punk.
Photos courtesy of Vogue