You've got to love Vivienne Westwood. Who else would send out models whose faces were painted with psychedelic tribal squiggles in shoes with oversized rubber chain ankle straps and bags produced in Kenya through the United Nations International Trade Centre Ethical Fashion Programme. There was, of course, a message here. The grande dame of British fashion continues to use her catwalk to express her politics: she is as passionate today about climate control and the preservation of the planet as she once was about Pirates and her indomitable spirit is nothing short of awe inspiring for that.
The autumn/winter Red Label collection was, by contrast, a relatively demure creature. True, there were sex pot crepe dresses with sweetheart necklines worn with teeny tiny knits buttoned over them to maximise the impact of an unusually ample bosom. Neither are the dropped crotch trousers that Westwood herself wears so well necessarily for the faint hearted: they're certainly not conventionally flattering but that's the point.
More generally though this is a line that takes the signatures of this by now legendary name and translates them into an easy (but never dull) wardrobe that many discerning young women would love to wear.
With that in mind tailoring was suitably curvaceous with nipped in waists and draped fronts on jackets, wool coats came tightly waisted again and with dramatic full skirts. Lurex knits, jersey dresses and knickerbockers (this time lace-trimmed) were also all present and correct. In May, Punk: From Chaos to Couture opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It's a title that perfectly defines Westwood's trajectory in particular. Add to the mix her tireless promotion of a more serious moral code and she remains a force to be reckoned with.
By Susannah Frankel