When in doubt, dress up was the underlying message of this free, genderless, fun tribute to Vivienne Westwood.
Andreas Kronthaler shared the collection’s starting point — his take on key moments of Westwood’s “life in fashion” — via a letter penned on the Eurostar coming over to Paris, which served as the show notes. On the list were: Seventies Teddy Boy tailoring, rubber clothes, and prints based on the vintage flower wallpaper and carpet in Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s shop, Let It Rock, in the Seventies on London’s King’s Road, later known as Sex.
The Nineties were represented through Dior-esque tailoring, followed by unisex, he said. Kronthaler also pulled out two iconic pieces from Westwood’s own wardrobe: “the mohair punk sweater that you knitted for yourself, and the catsuit from Sara [that] you used to wear when I first met you.”
The eccentric-clubber collection was paraded on a gender- and size-fluid cast — each a creature of the night — as platformed male dancers gyrated on podiums.
From faux fur leopard coats, historical skirts and ethnic head scarves to a voluminous chiffon dress in an allover hair print, and a look based on suspenders over gold tights embroidered with the couple’s initials — anything went.
There was even a dead ringer for a young Westwood in her punk youth with spiky hair. And a fat guy with smudgey makeup in a puffer and holey sweater who had forgotten to put his pants on.
The white dresses were made from old stock and leftovers.
Westwood in the past has said she and McLaren behaved like pirates, plundering inspiration from other places and periods, and those codes were intact, but with a younger spin. With freaky South African rap-raver act Die Antwoord — Yolandi Visser and Watkin Tudor Jones aka Ninja — watching attentively from the sidelines, what came across loud and clear in this collection was its ongoing relevance and new sense of punk, as a pioneer of exactly what is happening today.