Vivienne Westwood Red Label
February 13, 2008 London
Actually, for accuracy's sake, the above needs a little qualification. Vivienne Westwood has never stopped living in London, though she's shown her main line in Paris for almost a decade and has no plans to change that. The collection she showed today was her second line, Red Label, and it was here by popular demand from retailers. "I never really wanted to show a second line [on the runway] because it's such a lot of work," she said. "But it's good because it means I don¿t have to let go all of the ideas I have so quickly. There¿s an awful lot of energy in London now, and I found it much easier to show than it used to be. There's help; sponsorship; fantastic hair, makeup, production people; and really top girls."
If Britain's national fashion treasure had any lingering reservations that showing her commercial line might tarnish her reputation, the effect ended up just the opposite. Fifteen years ago no one would have predicted such an incendiary nutcase would ever survive in business, let alone live to swish a wearable collection of in-demand Westwood-isms in the face of her gainsayers. But that was what it was: a lineup of pinstripe tailoring, tartan kilts, knits, and coats with rounded lapels stamped with the baggy-hemmed, asymmetric hallmarks of the Westwood classic. The fact that it's all at an accessible priceeven the gorgeous versions of her draped-bosom evening dressesis, for a democrat like Viv, perhaps the biggest triumph. No wonder it looked like a victory parade when she came out at the end of the show arm in arm with one of London's It girls of the moment, Lily Donaldson.