March 02, 2012 Paris
The show opened with green lasers spinning and searching across the runway but soon delved headlong into the classical beauty of a corseted coat in chocolate shadow-stripe silk. Westwood found herself looking at the seventeenth century: in her words, "the age of the amateur…rugged individualist and adventurer." But also mixed up in her bouillabaisse were suits with multiple triangular Klaus Nomi-esque shoulders and corseted Dickensian tweeds worn with crinolines and matching newsboy caps. There was a Granny Takes a Trip de-con marabou chubby with a crocheted hobble skirt, a ghostly white New Romantic dress, and jewel-encrusted Baroque corsets worn with matching gloves and not much else. Oh, and loads of elevator platforms. Is it any wonder that the designer's final walk with her husband and creative conspirator Andreas Kronthaler and her crowd of models always seems like a party? You know, the good kind where anything goes.
But not everything goes. Along with the designer's push into ethical fashion, one new cause—advertised on an oversize statement tee with a rich iridescent silk skirt—is to save energy by having London's office buildings turn their lights off at night when they're empty. That makes sense in any context.