“YOU HAVE been my reason and what I have done I have done for you” read the show notes written by Andreas Kronthaler and dedicated to his late wife, Vivienne Westwood. The designer took autumn-winter 2023 lightly, and ensured that the first collection since the founder’s death would be one dedicated entirely to her.
“You are so cool, so cool darling” he continues and with conviction. Tracing back through her history and beginning with her origins in the North of England, Kronthaler painted a vivid picture of the trailblazer, balancing the very essence of who she was with her undeniably eccentric eye for design and of course, punk attitude.
“In everything we will show, I thought of you and where you came from… The ‘masturbation skirt’, do you remember? From a long time ago. How much we laughed when we made it. I worked on it again. The petticoat skirts which were your absolute favourite”.
Crafting a tribute entirely from deadstock fabric, the designer led with the process of creation through mirroring the famous mantra of the late designer – ‘buy less, choose well’. “I used some of our antique fabrics that we collected together to give them a new life, I hope you don’t mind”.
Reinforcing her dedication to sustainability, the creative director dug through personal archives, memories and the past collections to reconfigure her favourites into each look as if he was designing clothes for her to wear.
“I’ve made some for you, all different, they’re gorgeous, so pretty, so girly, so woman, so really woman”. Enriched in pieces that are instantly recognisable and nuanced in Westwoodisms, boned corsets were on full pelt, the famous suede boots from the 1981 Pirate collection made a welcomed return, tartan jackets were an instant staple, and of course, platform shoes were made even higher to commemorate her love of them.
Kronthaler finished his collection with Westwood’s grand-daughter Cora Corré closing the show in a bridal-inspired look fit with a corset and a holding a bouquet of white daffodils, marking a deeply moving ending to a collection hard to create.
Bringing up the past is never easy during the mourning period but instead of divulging in his sadness, he brought us a reminder of the sheer beauty, courage and fearless nature that Vivienne Westwood touched people and clothes with, being a symbol simultaneously of both hope and rebellion.
“Maybe the most important thing you ever taught me was to put the woman on a pedestal”.
by Imogen Clark