“Fashion is ridiculous, a pathetic parody of what it used to be” echoed around the stark walls of the University of Westminster on Sunday night as Vivienne Westwood’s Red Label ‘Mirror The World’ collection took centre stage.
The Red Label woman is strong, forthright and interested in the arts, culture and what the world has to offer; with Westwood’s collection reflecting just that. With beaded and embroidered pieces inspired by 16th Century Flemish tapestries, depicting woodland scenes with insects, including bumblebees and spiders on pastel yellow day dresses with raw scoop necklines and knee kissing hemlines.
The spring summer 2016 collection is Westwood back to her playful self, with Alcoholic triangle collars on the skew, and buttons down the right side of the relaxed fitted shirt, with a woollen figure hugging ankle-touching skirt in burnt red with flecks of orange.
Florals and lace dominated the proceedings on Stepford wife worthy outfits in white lace, with painted red roses accents and classic transparent Alex eyelet laden belt. To more eveningwear style ensembles, with trademark Westwood scoop neckline on monochrome front slit dresses. Some with white lace overlay on a white bustier, to more intense red on a black & white-corseted creations, creating a fascinating polarising look.
Block coloured looks equally reigned supreme. With black oversized tailoring with Jodhpur style trousers, and loose fitting lemon T-shirt with a black (carbon) foot print on. A cobalt blue pant suit with basket woven belt, and a salmon pink shirt with a heart cut out exposed the décolletage beneath. The salmon tone echoed through on the clear single strapped sandal. However the look was completed with a new bag from Westwood, tiered earthy brown leather with stitch marks criss-crossed across it, adding texture to the overall smooth ensemble.
The pantsuit didn’t stop at the cobalt blue number; the Red Label woman is a trouser lover and for SS16 its ankle kissing that she’ll be wearing, this time in jet black with matching wavy hem jacket and matching waistcoat.
A print used on several pieces in the collection became a botanists haven of amplified flowers on an off-white fabric, created into cigarette trousers, boyish blazers and an off the shoulder column dress that will no doubt become a new classic in the Westwood couture armoury.
The remaining theme to Westwood’s collection was the idea of being shipwrecked, hence the raw edging and mild distress on some of the clothing, which Westwood says is about human survival. But if one of the closing gowns is anything to go by, Westwood’s idea of a shipwreck could only happen to a luxury liner. As the painted rose lace seen previously, had been made into a bodice on the biased attached to a bellowing grey and black skirt that skimmed the floor effortlessly. A white lightweight bolero jacket with angular shoulders completed that extravagant look along side a clear beaded chocker.
The make-up by Val Garland throughout was dewy with some models having heavy black mask like eyes, and others having a slightly more than sun kissed glow to their faces. The wet-look hair with swaths strewn across their faces conveyed the notion that the models had submitted to hours in the ocean from their shipwreck.
It concluded in true Westwood style, a protest against climate change, fracking and the British Government. With Friends of the designer such as Lisa from Worlds End on Kings Road, who is the backbone to the store, Jordan & Luca from 8Dix Clothing and Daniel Lismore conceptual artist and creative director of Sarapol clothing, all took to the runway wearing her creations from previous seasons, as well as neon crowns from the 2010’s Prince Charming collection. All brandishing placards such as ‘Fracking Is A Crime’, ‘Politicians Are Criminals’ and ‘Climate Revolution’, with thankfully no tank insight this time.
Westwood has once again shown she is queen when it comes to deconstruction, asymmetry and unique pieces. As well as having something to say, whether that is through the clothing or through placards down the runway. If this is what Red Label has in store, I can’t wait till Gold Label at Paris Fashion at the beginning on October. Commence countdown.