From ruffling the establishment to beetles and Chinese tea - it's Vivienne Westwood

The venue was the British Ambassador’s Residence in Paris – all chandeliers, gilt mirrors and the occasional deep red velvet throne. Picture Georgia May Jagger posing in front of it wearing one of the designer’s low cut dresses, before the show kicked off.

‘We are always designing for a parallel universe because we are making something different, a bit new. It’s a world where people look good – interesting people who lead a better life,’ wrote Vivienne Westwood in her show notes.

The models strode out with hearts painted on their faces, hair teased into various ‘tribal’ hairdos, from bouffants to bleached white wigs. On their feet, squiggle print ‘clompers’, the name she gave her latest version of her infamous elevated platforms, which almost got the better of one model.

‘A kind person sent us a little book on beetles “for inspiration”,’ she wrote, interpreted here as holes filled with ruched fabric. A visit to the Prado museum in Madrid had influenced her great Velasquez-esque ballgowns, one such slashed to ribbons. A box of Chinese tea had inspired her exotic prints – cue a flamboyantly patterned wrap dress, a corseted number with ruched sleeves or a trouser and jacket combo with puffed up shoulders.

It’s hard to know how the frilly bloomers came in, the stripy knitwear, or milkmaid’s dress, but it hardly matters. This was Westwood on fine form, particularly when it came to those sweeping statement dresses, covered in decadent brooches and jewels – these, it turned out, were from her new Palladium fine jewellery line, ‘Gainsborough Collection’.

The grande dame of British fashion, media manipulator and activist, appeared at the end, with husband and co-designer Andreas Kronthaler, both wearing outsized T-shirts emblazoned with ‘CLIMATE REVOLUTION’ – the name of her collection. Not that it had anything to do with her creations, she said, urging her audience to ‘all act fast’ anyway. It’s a shame she didn’t insert more of her punk roots into the proceedings, given next year’s proposed exhibition, Punk: Chaos to Couture at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. But perhaps she’s saving it all up for autumn / winter 2013?

 
 
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