Vivienne Westwood Red Label
September 18, 2010 London
Would that the women on Westwood's runway were as engaged as Westwood herself. That's not to ask that the designer's collections be radical—her legacy there is secure, her influence felt daily. It's plenty fair that, at this point, she simply enjoy making clothes. Her high-spirited collection for Spring demonstrates that she does. But this show also expanded the disconnect between Westwood's own persona and politics, and the woman for whom she designs. A model wearing an oversize top and baggy shorts in a chintzy silk—part of an odd interior decor-themed section—could have been clacking around her country estate in high-heeled mules, going from room to room out of boredom. Political injustice seemed the farthest thing from her mind.
Still, clothing-wise, there were smart ideas here, like a sporty stripe of stretch leather running down the side of pencil skirts and lean suit trousers. There were curve-complementing pencil dresses with ruffled necklines, executed with pop in an orange and white check, and ageless, universally flattering draped silk dresses and tops. There were a plethora of great jackets and pants and the occasional outstanding accessory, like an oversize bag in Navajo-print felt and color-blocked patent-leather brogues and high-tops. Perhaps the large, heart-shaped necklaces Westwood designed for Reprieve, which accessorized nearly every look, were meant not only to raise funds for the organization but to send a message to the restlessly idle Westwood woman on the runway. Good God, girl, there's plenty to do—so do something.