Vivienne Westwood keeps British fashion's spirit alive in Paris

30 September 2008

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She's the Grande Dame of British fashion. So how did Vivienne Westwood's show go down in the fashion capital, Paris?

The setting: The École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts, the famous art school founded in 1648 on the left bank in Paris. Très historic.

The people: Vivienne Westwood's die-hard fans, artist Tracey Emin and I Kissed A Girl popstrel Katy Perry. Wonder what they chatted about on the FROW?

The goss:  A rumour flew around the front row that Kate Winslet is to star as Westwood in a film about the designer's life!  

The message: There is always a message at Westwood Gold Label shows (her mainline; the Red  Label is shown in London). ‘In these hard times, there is status in wearing your clothes over and over until they grow old (patina) or fall apart.' Vivienne obviously doesn't shop high street! So what do you do? Dame Vivienne has the answer: do it yourself! Vivienne told us to make 'necklaces out of safety pins' and shawls from 'blankets, tablecloths, curtains, towels or a meter of fabric'. Or 'style together with beautiful pieces from your wardrobe or that of your mother or husband'.

The clothes: Viv suggested in her show notes that we play with our clothes. Her advice?  We should wear 'kerchiefs worn as knickers', make 'necklaces out of safety pins', and turn 'shawls, blankets, tablecloths, curtains and towels' into going out glamour. And she meant it! One hot pink gown was a silk straight off the roll - and, believe it or not, it was amazing. There were her usual slogan T-Shirts - one shouting $30 billion, the amount it apparently takes to protect the world's rainforests every year. But, overall, it was classic Westwood, a mad rag-bag of draping, sexy, curve-enhancing clothes.

The verdict: Ker-ching!  

 - Melanie Rickey

Check out and rate the show's key looks below and see how Vivienne's backstage team created that new black lip here. Plus more from Paris yesterday: Watch the amazing finale at Maison Martin Margiela; Read our insider's guide to what went on behind the scenes at Christian Dior.


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