SS22 Imagines 'New Beginning' for Vivienne Westwood
Westwood's husband Andreas Kronthaler presents a collection that manages to rebel against the status quo of a brand renowned for ripping up rules.
Where once the runways were full of punky colours, patterns and immaculately tiny details, the latest display at Paris Fashion Week for Westwood featured chunkier, more casual, arguably simpler silhouettes that serve as a suggested turning point for the aesthetic direction of the beloved British brand.
In the past, Westwood has pushed boundaries regarding shape and tailoring, mastering the art of astounding and enchanting audiences with humorously excessive and skilfully refined pieces centred around complex topics such as history, sexuality, androgyny, and politics. This season's collection, revealed October 2nd, teased an attitude more focused on starting again after the monumental halt the pandemic placed on runway shows, with the familiar eccentricities of Westwood being put to use under the uniting order of 'clean' and 'fresh'. Even the colour choices skated around the edges of much less divisive palettes - blacks, browns, greys and creams supplied the base for most looks, and were offset with pinks, blues and greens. The unusually relaxed finish of the show was evident in not only the DNA of the pieces, but their styling too. Unisex shorts for men and women were left unbuttoned and unzipped at the back, almost falling away from the models as they walked.
Despite the slightly more muted collection, the mainstays for the label remained in the form of accessories - outlandishly large headpieces, shoulder length bell earrings, heeled boots that tie in a bow behind the neck. The show is not unrecognisable as Westwood - still loud, bizarre, eclectic (and secretly posh) - a statement corset dress tangled in folded black tulle makes an appearance, as do a variety of unisex suits. Heels and luxuriously draping fabrics are present throughout. But even in the collections most avant-garde pieces - 2 large silky-looking tent-like dresses - the effect is still strangely minimal, and that impression somehow hangs over the whole display.
It seems the Westwood brand has managed to subvert and conquer its final obstacle - itself.