“It is not possible for a man to be elegant without a touch of femininity”, is perhaps one of Westwood’s famous quotes. However, for her Spring Summer 2016 collection, she embraced it and made it a reality. Westwood created a collection that saw men in asymmetric column dresses and women in oversized tailoring.
The collection embraced unisex clothing, seeing a woollen bikini top and small briefs open the show, with a pebble necklace and half black, half white heeled boots and chunky socks. Followed by a relaxed navy shirt with leopard print collar and cuffs, alongside hessian sack shorts with a raw edge, and floral printed brogues.
The overriding theme throughout was oversized. As two coats with strong shoulders, one in deep blue and the other with white and cornflower blue panels with a floral design, had a caged up section, which framed the models head, creating a spectacle on the runway.
The strong tailoring became a recurring subject, with 15 different styles of suit jackets and trousers gracing the runway in the 53-piece collection. A suit jacket in white with double button front, and an earthy brown number with knee-skimming tail with matching top and paper bag waist trousers. However, the stars of the tailoring section were a trio of blazers taking personalisation to the next level.
A caramel jacket worn with a striped silk pyjama set was adorned with Westwood Orbs, lightening bolts, badges with the Gay Pride flag and Biohazard patches added a sense of fun to the luxury line. Another, an all cream look was bedecked in nuts and bolts, studs and metal straps, with the concluding piece, a midnight blue pants suit with a rainbow spectrum of buttons.
No Gold Label show is complete without dresses, and this collection saw over half the collection dominated by the once feminine associated clothing. Grecian one-shoulder column dresses in intense red, and gold with Westwood’s newest print – a checkerboard with ‘Destroy’ in alternate squares, were crafted in such a way the swaths of fabric hung. Where as others looked deconstructed and pieced together in a whimsical fashion. A silk blue oversized day dress with exaggerated corset apron front epitomised this, with its straps off the shoulder and a relaxed long sleeved jumper in olive, finished with leopard print pumps and checkerboard socks.
Westwood drew inspiration from the “emporium of culture”, Venice, for this collection. Where its famous carnivals allow men to be women and the rich to become poor. The main character played through this period is Harlequin, where the use of patchwork is a key element for the character, and is echoed through this collection.
A suit in black and red diamonds with flecks of gold and a bicorn hat brought Harlequin to life. The theatrical style costume continued onto a houndstooth suit creation with a stand collar and leg-of-mutton sleeves and string waistband.
Closing the show was not a spectacular gown or tailored suit, but a tiered bandeau top in blue, a ruff around the neck also in blue and a ruffled cream piece around the waist with freshly cut Freesias and pink Heather, with Japan tights in evergreen and opaque tones. The look complete with a beekeeper style hat with a sheer veil and train.
The make-up and hair throughout was by Westwood’s recurring make-up artist, Val Garland. The Vincentian concept transpired into ‘Vincentian ravers’ with orange eyebrows, ultraviolet lipstick and brush stroke panels down the models face. The hair was done by Sam McKnight who created ‘wiglets’ or ‘wighats’, in soft mint and pastel pink tones placed on top of the models existing hair.
This spring summer 2016 collection by Westwood takes gender fluid clothing to a whimsical world, where there are no rules when it comes to fashion. But it proves Westwood’s comment that a man is nothing without a touch of femininity. But it also appears that it is not possible for a woman to be elegant without a touch of masculinity as well.