Vivienne Westwood Spring 2016 RTW reflected Westwood’s primary political concerns on climate change.
There aren’t many designers who can find inspiration in a campaign of expressing social issues today, but Vivienne Westwood is the exception. Known for her environmental activism, this season she dedicated her spring 2016 RTW collection to saving Venice from a threat of climate change and rising sea levels. The Gold Label collection was called “Mirror the World,” and we can see the designer put the city – slowly sinking into its surrounding lagoon – centre stage on the Paris catwalk.
Venice is a good theme for Westwood, another carnival theme that fits easily into the Westwood universe. Historically, the carnival was a time of dissolved borders, of rich and poor swapping places, and of transgressions. In the collection this was translated into outfits of simple, natural materials, set against sumptuous embellishments. There were also slogans like “Destroy” and “Repopulate Venice” alongside veils serving as masks (a portray of distorted face) and a harlequin costume, albeit in a blown-up houndstooth pattern. In this show, men wore dresses and neon makeup while women were in mannish tailoring. Other elements of dress-up included coats worn on heads and mirrored catsuits, while ruched dresses were for events a tad more low key.
An activist by conscience, this collection reflected her primary political concerns which shifted over the years; she is now predominately an activist for climate change, nuclear disarmament and civil rights, especially that of freedom of speech. However, Westwood still managed to merge her sometimes conflicting interests of social and politics with her own raucous way on the runway. And, from what we gather, Westwood is showing significant commercial momentum in every show at the moment. At today’s show, there was certainly plenty of good products to go around in the next spring. (Text Teuku Ajie)