Vivienne Westwood dedicated her spring collection to saving Venice, raising awareness about the disrepair and climate changes that threaten the city’s treasured architecture in her show notes, and reflecting gilded Venetian culture in her own raucous way on the runway.
Harlequin and Carnival motifs were mashed up with Westwood’s standard antiestablishment spirit — a red, black and gold diamond-patterned deconstructed jacket and matching cropped pants were worn with a red-and-white vertical stripe shirt bearing some kind of protest sign, for example. Pretty dresses flaunted Westwood’s sensually feisty nips, tucks, drapes and poufs and came accessorized with fanciful, face-masking headgear. The lineup ranked in the softcore range of Westwood’s punk gradient.
With hardly any boundary buttons left for Westwood to press, she reserved the wackiest Venetian-themed grandeur and Carnival caricature for the male models in the show — and ended up falling in with the gender-fluid trend. The men wore draped gowns, robes and earrings. One wore striped tights over his hairy legs and high-heeled, black-and-white yin and yang boots; another was a houndstooth-clad harlequin dandy.
And since Venice is a city on stilts, Westwood propped up clownish oversize jackets on the shoulders of two models — one male, one female — so the necklines were well above their heads.