LONDON, September 20, 2009
ByGiven Dame Westwood's memorably unmediated declaration that she had nothing to do with her Red collection, she has been remarkably well-served by whoever is responsible. They've managed to commercialize her Queen Mother-on-crack aesthetic so that it plays to a whole new audience of pop-ettes, a posse of whom were parked in the front row, alongside hoary old fans like Boy George. The pop-ettes cheered lustily every time Pixie Geldof, one of their own, passed by on the catwalk, trying her hardest to cop some bad-girl attitude. Once, that would have been entirely in keeping with the clothes, but it's funny how Viv's fashion radicalism has devolved into the kind of decorous dresses that would be suitable for a garden party at the local vicarage: tulip-printed (paired with a white cardigan); draped and polka-dotted with a portrait neckline. Even her exaggerated forties-styled tailoring, for all its asymmetrical touches, now looks more and more conservative (though a brocade jacket and swagged lilac skirt on Coco Rocha proved that Westwood's va-va-voom factor remains undiminished). For Spring, Red occasionally mixed up the classicism with argyle-patterned short shorts, or diaper shorts, or a pair of drop-crotch linen pants cut on the bias. But what ultimately lingered were the high-waisted gray trousers worn with a lilac blouse, a distinctly ladylike counterpoint to the save-the-rain-forest message the dame printed on her invitation.
I find it interesting for Style.com's Tim Blanks to point out that the collection was a success despite the fact the Vivienne Westwood herself hadn't designed it. Surely most high end successful designer labels have served as inspiration and a leader to a collection, but don't fully design and create the final collections. A recent article in the Telegraph Magazine called "Dream Weavers" celebrated the genius behind the creation of the clothes, not from a designers point of view, but the seamsters and embroiders. Having worked in a fashion house, it seems that all the credit goes towards the designer, but without their team of creators the designer would go back to being a student creating their own work again.
In the end it's Vivienne Westwood who approved this collection, so according to the public, it's hers and she should get all the credit. Shame.