Dame Vivienne has always covered her clothes with doodles. This season, she went straight to the source, enlisting 7- and 8-year-old students from the Portland School in Nottingham, England, to hand-paint most of the pieces in her new collection. But it wasn't exactly child's play. After briefing them on the global-warming crisis, she asked them to imagine a society of jungle-dwelling eco-warriors. The clothes that resulted are the warriors' uniform.
There were capes and ponchos in tartans spliced to resemble camouflage, fake-fur hoodies and pants, and real shearling jackets adorned with primary-colored butterflies, flowers, and snakes. Ribbed-knit cardigans wrapped haphazardly around the torso, skirts had paper-bag waists, and pants drooped to the knees. For those moments when the freedom fighters ventured into the city, Westwood offered unembellished taffeta evening suits and dresses with portrait necklines.
It's hard to see the real-life urban-jungle application of many of the more decorated pieces, but the agitprop was actually less heavy-handed than it has been in the past. Chalk it up to the Portland schoolkids in the front row, or maybe the stilt walkers (one wore a pinstriped pantsuit with slung-back shoulders, the other a lush green ball gown aswirl with paint): As serious as Westwood's message remains, this was still a feel-good show.