Dame Vivienne Westwood died peacefully on 29 December at the age of 81, surrounded by her family and loved ones. As British fashion mourns the loss of its grand dame, we take a look at a recent shoot Alastair worked on with her iconic brand.
Vogue wrote about the collections:
Vivienne Westwood’s greatest source of reference is none other than Vivienne Westwood herself. This season the doughty designer and her team remixed elements of her back catalog afresh, while inserting a sprinkling of newly conceived elements in order to service the seasonal consumption provoking manufacture of the “new.” Naturally, however, all the fabrics and materials created for that consumption were sourced from suppliers the designer’s lengthy notes worked to demonstrate were impeccably sustainable.
Because this is the Year of the Tiger and the market responds to such references, the Westwood team looked back to the fall 2001 show Wild Beauty, which featured whiskered tiger headpieces and a tiger stripe that was reproduced here on some appropriately fierce tailoring and overdyed on deadstock cotton velvet and certified-not-harmful viscose dresses pants and shirting for both genders. There was also a new take on tiger in a pixelated and otherwise distorted print, plus an equal opportunities feline shout-out to leopards, featured on underwear and base layers in more friendly viscose via digital print. More obscurely, the dress in Look 48 was apparently gathered together from a bolt of fabric cut in the silhouette of a black panther skin outline, an enjoyably ditsy way in which to generate Westwood’s trademark woozily asymmetric ruching.
Cat-unrelated highlights included wide-shouldered, low-skirted, and double-breasted all-viscose satin tuxedos, plus pieces made in a repeat end-of-year school tea towel print (a British cultural quirk the Westwood team said they needed to explain to editors from the U.S.) and others in a Westwood drafted, Matisse inspired eye print. A corset reproduced the chicken-bone font of Westwood’s classic “Sex” T-shirt while more subtle visual congress was provoked through samples of painted works by Jean-Baptiste Oudry and Breughel. Elsewhere, “wrecked” overcoats were unconventionally cut to generate the same vagabond iconoclast charisma that Westwood herself has for so long personified. Without in any way being a criticism of Westwood—been there, done that—it was tricky to square her “buy less, by better” mantra set against a collection that was so bristling with highly want-able buyables.