PFW AW24: Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood

WHAT IS elegance? It comes as no surprise that Andreas Kronthaler has the answer: “Elegance is all about how one moves through life. It is less to do with what you wear, or how you sell, it’s much more to do with your inner self,” explains the designer’s show notes.

Transporting onlookers to the 1600s, Andreas Kronthaler looked to late Renaissance costume and historical sportswear for the autumn-winter 2024 Vivienne Westwood collection.

Featuring runway appearances from Sam Smith and front rowers such as Barbara Palvin, Julia Fox, Emma Chamberlain and many more, the show was one of the most anticipated across the Paris schedule.

Combining his historical prowess with an interest in literature, the show invite referenced a poem called The North Wind Doth Blow – a nursery rhyme describing the actions of a robin during a winter snowstorm and its pursuit of warmth in a farm barn.

Through Kronthaler’s usage of MacAndreas tartan kilts and the collection’s interest in black garments, onlookers can argue that the collection alludes to Scottish funeral traditions.

In such traditions, men often spent time in a barn – after a burial – to feast and celebrate the lives of those who had passed, whereas women would feast in the house. Utilising the image of the barn to represent warmth and rebirth after a time of hardship, the collection perpetuates Vivienne’s legacy with care and infallible grace.

The creative director was also particularly inspired by the work of Giovanni Battista Moroni. After visiting an exhibition of the artist’s work, Kronthaler became fascinated by the austerity and elegance of the Mannerist paintings. Black clothes, solemn faces and delicate hands are all intrinsic aspects of Moroni’s refined compositions and subtly show throughout the ensembles.

Collating significant patterns from the 1600s, the designer was aided by Patterns of Fashion by Janet Arnold – published by The School of Historical Dress in South London and run by Professor Jenny Tiramani. Having utilised the book to influence previous collections, Kronthaler and Vivienne Westwood have both praised the piece for its educational yet liberating content.

The black clothes further demonstrate Kronthaler’s references to the 17th century. During this era, black was fashionable, full of fervour and sophistication. From codpieces and slashed sets to pluderhosen and breeches, the creative director’s focus on this era was loud and clear.

Similarly, classic Westwood corsetry was not overlooked. Tailored bustle and corset styles intertwined Kronthaler’s conceptual themes with the brand’s immediately recognisable design codes.

Meanwhile, over-the-top, abstract shoes also became a focal point of the latest seasonal offering. From blown-up wader boots and bow-embellished platform counterparts, the shoes were big, beautiful and impossible to ignore.

Referencing Scottish Paganism, fine art chefs-d’œuvres and archival ways of dressing, Kronthaler continues to helm Vivienne Westwood with poise and grace.

by Sophie Richardson

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