Strictly she’s a Dame (a title bestowed on her by the British state), but Vivienne Westwood is often described as a queen, whether of Punk or British fashion. Before this collection, originally due to drop yesterday, then deferred for obvious, British reasons, Westwood tipped her tiara to the real just-passed HRH. She said last Friday: “The Queen performs a national service. Every morning she has her breakfast, most days her outfit is already decided for her royal appointment; shake hands, gives speeches. Every institution in our country wants her acknowledgement and attribution. Her life is prescribed. The Royal Family, as an institution, is social cement. The Queen holds the country together. She’s a figurehead of international diplomacy. I think it’s so important that our Royal Family is hereditary, the family members learn diplomacy by osmosis and develop a sense of duty to our country and to the world. We all owe her our gratitude.”
Westwood is closely associated with the spirit of ’70s sedition soundracked by the Sex Pistols. Yet she twice collected honors from Buckingham Palace (even if unencumbered by underwear). And her patriotic alignment did not end with Elizabeth; for fall 2015 she put out a t-shirt printed with an image to the-then Prince Charles as a shout-out to his long standing environmental campaigning.
This collection was entitled Born To Rewild (a phrase incorporated into the pinstripe pieces) and represented a fresh chapter in that ongoing Westwood concern. As ever, all of the pieces were presented with an impeccable sustainability provenance and a dizzying frame of reference, both to Westwood’s own past collections and creative culture more broadly.
The neon-spiked tartan, for instance, was a version of the MacAndy pattern first used in her fall 1993 Anglomania collection. Slashed denim was developed from the Cut and Slash collection of 1991. And there was also a great corset skirt developed from a design originally modeled by Kate Moss, sucking a lollipop, in 1992. Naturally, there was also plenty of Sex—a pair of shorts named the Rough Bum featured a Savile Row style pant-tightener above the salient area, while jeans came without a top button, but an “emergency button” halfway down the fly. One suspects that Westwood’s design team has a whale of a time mining, refining, and reviving her wonderful archive: recycling in the best possible sense.
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CreditImages courtesy of Sabina Schreder / Courtesy of Vivienne Westwood