Using the past to usher in the new is a creed to which Vivienne Westwood ascribes fervently. But if a trip into the historical is the starting point of this collection, the inspiration is diluted into the maelstrom of her passionate fights for a variety of causes.
On the runway, these were translated into a polished - for someone with such a penchant for the provocative and extravagant - collection where nineteenth century mutton-leg sleeves and Victorian tailoring melded with tribal pride in one's femininity that leaves breasts visible under a thin layer of fabric. Colorful and intense, Dame Vic's collection proposed elements that are made to transcend time, but not in a reverent museum-worthy way. Rather, they're recycled reliefs of the past given a new lease of life. Think a melange of ship-wrecked Victorians continuing life in some South American land: tailored jackets with draped skirts, square-heeled lace-up boots and shaggy wool throws...
The show finished quite classically with a beautiful bride in white that was a clear hat tip to couture - only couture brides don't usually have breasts so brazenly on view - in translucent tulle. One can't deny that for all her punk sensibilities, Westwood knows her way around the classics like the best of them.
At the end, fashion's rebellious Dame appeared, frail looking and without her trademark shock of red hair, supported by her husband Andreas Kronthaler. It was the apparition of the tribe elder, with all the reverence and affection this entails.
Watch the show!