The always-eccentric Vivienne Westwood showed her spring/summer 2013 line for her Gold Label collection in Paris during fashion week this year. Westwood’s runway shows usually have surprising theatrical elements, and this year’s did not disappoint. This multi-runway show had the models walking from room to room in the British Embassy. The embassy was decorated as an old 16th or 17th century-style residence fit for members of the English Court. It was a great backdrop for the eclectic line Westwood calls, “Global exotic.”
The show was a collection of odd arrangements of garments from all over the world. The first few looks seemed to focus on the juxtaposition between opulence and poverty. The first look was a shapeless potato sack-like, grey dress probably made of a textile similar to velvet. The model wore a crown and had a brown heart slapped on her face. The next look was a highly embellished dress with emerald like jewels and crystals on the front. It looked like an apron with ties around the waist. The model’s hair stood straight up on her head, mimicking the voluminous wigs of the Renaissance royals. Her makeup looked like a white mask covering her eyes and forehead. Similar makeup was worn by all the models in the show.
As the show dragged on, I found myself confused. What was the direction of the collection intended to be? Did the same designer design all these looks? Why was there no smooth transition between songs? The frantic music changes sounded like a medley of bad 1980s songs from a teenage boy’s iPod stuck on shuffle. Usually, designers want all the models to smile, show a relaxed face, or be stoic, depending on the mood of the show. But, Westwood’s models showed such a wide spectrum of emotions from extreme enthusiasm to absolute loathing. What was the mood or overall tone of the show? Even after watching it several times, I still cannot pin point it.
There were so many aspects to this show it was difficult to focus on the clothing. The concept of a global woman was lost on me at certain points due to the randomness of accessories and fabrics. If this is to be a global woman’s go-to collection, why incorporate so many garments that need to be ironed or handled with care?
The most random part of the show was the sudden message about the climate revolution Westwood splashed on a few T-shirts and bags. Even she admitted in her own blog the randomness of the message. She wrote, “Really the only connection with the collection and the climate revolution is the title but I want to remind you that it has begun…” Overall, the one thing I took away from the Gold Label spring/summer 2013 collection was the meaning of artistic expression.