As any Vivienne Westwood fanatic will tell you, model Sara Stockbridge was always the designer's ultimate muse; epitomising that distinctively punk-style glamour for which Westwood is known, all platinum-bleached straight-out-the-rollers Marilyn Monroe hair and fierce scarlet lips in a playful snarl, Stockbridge ruled the Westwood catwalk (often in an actual crown) in the mid to late Eighties.
The first model to wear that Westwood fig leaf catsuit, the girl who made the designer's iconic mini-crini's swing with her insolent catwalk sashay, and the one who could handle any of Viv's impossible shoes (take note, Naomi) even the notoriously treacherous Rocking Horse shoe. And, of course, the girl who Viv chose to wear the brand's signature crown (at a jaunty, up-yours-ma'am angle), we LOVE this legend of the catwalk more than we can possibly say.
So who better to review Vivienne Westwood's S/S'12 Red Label show ? Luckily for Grazia Daily (we seriously nearly wet our pants) and you, Stockbridge agreed to take a step back in time...
PS We'd love to see her back on the catwalk, but Sara's now a successful novelist. Her second book, 'Cross My Palm', published by Chatto & Windus, is out now.
‘Her hair’s half-done,’ Vivienne tells me at the Westwood Red Label rehearsal as a backcombed model walks by. ‘It looks great, I’ve asked them not to finish it.’ Backstage is buzzing. Vivienne chats to Tracey Emin as models get into their first outfits, hairdressers wrestle with a scary pile of hair pieces and everywhere there are photographers taking pictures of everything, among them my daughter Lelu (13) who is taking pictures for this very blog. I ask Murray Blewett, head designer at Red Label, about the inspiration for this collection. ‘I started with Ancient Greece and went space-age,’ he says. ‘You have to see this girl, her name is Sumeira. She’s fantastic, like a little alien.’
Sumeira is gorgeous in the show with her blue panda eye make-up. The models stalk down the catwalk to a rocking soundtrack featuring ROOSTER (my band! How exciting?!) Hair is enormous, with scarves tied into it, or slicked close to the head. I adore Red Label for its concision, wearability and clever cut and this collection ticks all the boxes. Dresses built around the signature Westwood corset feature next to a loose structured 70’s lounge-type trouser outfit, chic little skirt suits and a series of silky Grecian draped dresses. For the young and firm there are tiny mini shorts and skirts teamed with little tops cropped to bikini dimensions, under big open shirts.
Accessories are minimal. A necklace with the big word LOVE modernises a white Greek goddess dress, a tie features around a waist, hats and over-sized earrings make an appearance but mostly the look is all about structure and cut, simple and clean. I WANT the black shirt dress!! Print and pattern are kept to stripes or tartan-type check here and there, a giant black and white lace print, a floor length applique Union Jack skirt and a cute octopus tee – fabric is mainly block colour, but with all the textures going on a wet look mac dress, space age foil, crushed velvet, silky knits, a sackcloth hat. And colour pops on a cerise tea-style dress with a 30’s feel and a scarlet full length strapless showstopper.
Among fashion’s finest, watching this gorgeousness parade down Smithfield’s ornate hall are Pamela Anderson (wow) Paloma Faith (lovely) someone called BB from Dirty Sexy Things (who Lelu gets very excited about) and Nancy Dell’Olio (bit of a bitch.) All cram into the backstage area after to congratulate fashion’s first Lady. I have too many drinks and wear the final outfit bouquet home. Tip top.
- Sara Stockbridge