While some stand on the shoulders of giants, Vivienne Westwood is a giant. Her contributions to the world extend far beyond the realm of fashion, and her influence on the industry since the 1960s has been so immense as to be unquantifiable. To this day, her radical perspective continues to invigorate modern fashion design, but Westwood is also an outlier because she’d rather challenge than compromise. For instance, when Westwood, who with the help of Malcolm McLaren created “punk”, attended the Met Gala’s “Punk: Chaos to Couture” red carpet event she did so, not to take her place in the annals of punk history, but to speak out about Bradley Manning. She has always had a passion for giving a voice to those that society would normally pass over.
For SS14, Vivienne Westwood’s stance is even more anti-establishment than ever.
For Spring/Summer 2014, her stance is even more anti-establishment than ever. Decrying the greed of capitalism by stating her exhaustion with “the conveyor belt of profit”, she paradoxically disputes her own role in consumer spending. How does someone who profits from the sale of her creations simultaneously undermine that process? She does so by branding her collections with political messages, turning her patrons into billboards for causes. Her focus this season is on “climate revolution”, and her presentation incorporated bags made in Kenya by the “Ethical Fashion Initiative”, while her tartan plaids were created in Burkina Faso. Alongside this cause, Westwood showcased Medieval-inspired clothes that borrowed from serfs and peasants, even to the point of sending models down the runway splattered with mud and wearing snarled hairdos. Amid the more costume-y pieces in the collection come desirable plain knit dresses, kitten-printed sweaters, festive floral separates, and killer jackets with strong, pointy shoulders. Westwood’s political passions and philosophies are to be lauded and applauded. When her collections are this gorgeous, interesting, and wearable – while also maintaining the integrity she intends – it is more than a fashion accomplishment, it’s a statement of intelligent design.
Photos: Courtesy of GoRunway