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REVISITED: VIVIENNE’S FOLLY

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD is truly an icon among designers, richly talented and imaginative beyond compare. So why does her SPRING/SUMMER 2015 collection look so messy? Vivienne, we love you, and you could put just about anything on the runway and it would look faaabulous. Except this collection. And this show. Lord knows we don’t expect classic beauty from you - that is for those who need to play it safer. You, Vivienne, push our buttons, make us reconsider, make us think. You have caused fashion revolutions in your nearly 50-year career. In the 70s, you, along with MALCOLM MCLAREN, brought punk into the mainstream, introducing for the first time things like razor blades, safety pins, and dog collars. Those things have been standard punkwear for decades. In the 80s, you brought out the “mini-crini,” typically combining history and an edgy look. Those short, full, puffball skirts presaged CHRISTIAN LACROIX’s more famous bubble skirts. You re-imagined tartan plaids, and brought back the bustle. You constantly made us redefine what fashion was. So what gives, Vivienne? Hardly cohesive, this collection does have some spectacular pieces - but they were hard to

find. Perhaps it was the styling, having layered mismatched pieces on top of each other that was so distracting. But we could only see the art if we looked very closely. In fact, it was hard to get past the looks of the models themselves. The makeup was ludicrous - the girls looked like a cross between RAGGEDY ANN and a streetwalker doing her Walk of Shame in bright daylight. It was an exaggerated, ghastly look, with dots of rouge on the cheeks and lipstick smeared across the jaw. Then there were the headpieces, like upside down Easter baskets, among others, that made the entire visage laughable. What did we like? The 1940s JOAN CRAWFORD shoulders on the suits - sharp and clean but cut with design details that only a true master could do. And the photographic prints so stunning that they demanded that you look at them. The all-white suit with a miniskirt topped by a dreamy 40s jacket with circular-cut embellishments. The pagoda-shouldered green silk brocade cape, lined in the same brocade in a coppery hue. And the Highwaymen’s coats shown in several variations were divine. But the rest? Perplexing, at best. But we forgive you, Vivienne - everyone knows what exquisiteness you’re capable of.

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Photography by: Marcus Tondo / Indigitalimages.com