2/16/09

Telegtaph.co.uk: Vivienne Westwood at Paris Fashion Week

By Hilary Alexander, Fashion Director

Last Updated: 10:31AM GMT 22 Jan 2009

DIY fashion: Vivienne Westwood's joyously haphazard approach to dress


Vivienne Westwood's powerful show featured DIY fashion and was based on the idea that time is running out...

“DIY! Don’t buy my clothes. Well, if you are rich or can afford a stylist, you can get me. But if not, do it yourself. My idea is that you can mix charity, vintage, Portobello Road, pieces of Ikat fabric; wrap it all around yourself, use a handkerchief as knickers, mix safety pins and jewellery. But above all do something! Be optimistic!”


Vivienne Westwood’s passionate pre-show dialogue was all about saving the rainforest and she was not in the slightest bit cautious about letting her politics invade her collection.

“We are in the most terrible danger. In 100 years 5 billion people could be dead, London could be inundated in 20 years. Time is running out.”

The inevitability of time was underscored on a World’s End clock printed on a T-shirt, one of the more instantly recognizable and recycled items in the show, along with a fresh take on the famous pirate boots, although this time decorated with rough-cut white denim in a nod to her legendary ‘cut-and-slash’ collection.

Elsewhere, she was true to her DIY manifesto, using colourful, printed tubes and rectangles of fabric, twisted, tied and wrapped around the body to form a colourful and joyously haphazard approach to dress.
Skirts were bunched up and secured with D-rings. A leopard-print throw came with baggy, grey cotton shorts. A yellow Chinese, embroidered bed-cloth was worn as a sarong with a striped Lurex jumper.

A remnant of blue and white print cotton was twisted into “nappies” and teamed with an Ikat print stole. And vast lengths of pastel, ticking stripe were gathered and knotted into crinolines and sari-style gowns.

Staged to Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto, the show carried a powerful message. But was anybody listening?

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