After a moment of suspended disbelief at the ongoing soundtrack performed by a live band, guests at Vivienne Westwood tittered amongst themselves. The primeval screaming going on to the sound of electric guitars seemed to be the flotsam of post-civilization, echoing through the stuffy air of an office building.
The collection? Picture this: it's the morning after the night before. Epilepsy-induced flashes jar you awake, and in the back of your head, you hear the throat-tearing screams of last night's band still throwing it down. Piles of people and piles of clothes lay about, still recovering as the metallic fringe bunting gently moves overhead. Someone seems to have drawn on your face with a Sharpie. And is that a questionable tattoo you don't remember getting? Slightly embarrassed, you reach for the first garment under your hand. A jacket three sizes too big, a woman's bustier dress, the shreds of a hula skirt and a cap painted in garish flowers will do just fine as coverup for now.
While her focus remains firmly on the ongoing ecocide, and she maintains the need for awareness on the subject, she seemed to focus more on removing gender-based labeling. The show was consequently called Unisex and approached dressing as "grab the first thing and wear it.” The outfits ran the gamut of believable to outlandish, to the downright sculptural. It was a hotchpotch of her work over the years. Beyond that, a taffeta ball gown (one on a man, the other on a woman) coexisted with sharply tailored check jackets (for her) and a sparkly bouillonné suit worn with a leather miniskirt (for him). The farrago of silhouettes and time periods pointed to her driving thought -- that study of the past is needed for the future, but that the knowledge of what is human is instinctively ingrained in each person. Catching sight of an olive-colored jumpsuit, and seeing how well a jacket fell, even oversized to the max, it was clear Westwood had lost nothing of her skills.
Clearly, Dame Vivienne Westwood is a designer with nothing left to prove, either to herself or to the world at large. Tonight was in the image of what she preaches: take it or leave it.