This was the ninth collection that Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood has presented in Paris and, the designer explained, that number symbolises “universal love, spiritual law and spiritual awakening and service to mankind. Nine is the number for those who live and lead in life by positive example.” If anyone has long been at the forefront of the revolution, it is Andreas and Vivienne. But, rather than settling into despair, this collection celebrated the awoken consciousness of a new era.
These were clothes created for gorgeous occasions of all sorts, from ’90s ravewear to corseted ballgowns, medieval glamour to Botticellian busts. Kronthaler had been thinking of the blue jackets of the French working class and so there were plenty of allusions to that palette in homage to the idea that “the workers are taking over Hôtel de Ville”, he smiled. What that amounted to was a frenetic assortment of fabulousness: “I was trying to expel the evil spirits that are around through the way you look, through the way you dress,” he reflected. “I think dressing up is a very, very powerful tool and you have to make use of it.
But at the end of the day, it’s just clothes.” They are, and these were lovely examples of them. But even more important was the wealth of documentation provided to attendees via email that explained the provenance of GOTS-certified cotton and FSC-certified viscose, the collaboration with ethical artisanal communities in Burkina Faso and buttons created out of waste material. The revolution is happening, and Westwood is at the forefront. If this is what it looks like, it’s not a hard sell.