A tearful moment and understandably so, designer Andreas Kronthaler Presents Fall 2023 Collection for Vivienne Westwood titled ‘Tintwistle’ in Paris.
Several thousand fans thronging around the outside of Hotel de la Marine on Paris’ grandest square Place de la Concorde. Inside Jared Leto, Tracey Emin, Jean-Paul Gaultier and scores of Westwood aficionados took their seats on Louis XVI chairs under the gilded frescos.
Scores of guests even sat outside on the long loggia with views to the Eiffel Tower, as the show began outside in the chilly air.
Opening with a restoration damsel punk with a chiffon top on which was printed a beautiful photo of a smiling Westwood; paired with mini kilt, gothic leggings and towering platforms. With one look blending several epochs in Vivienne’s remarkable career – Anglomania, punk, rural fantasy and UK glamour.
Designed by Andreas Kronthaler, her widower and long-time designated successor, the moment grew into a tour de force collection.
“In everything we will show, I thought of you and where you came from, from the North of England. The ‘masturbation skirt’, do you remember? From a long time ago. How much we laughed when we made it. I worked on it again. The petticoat skirts which were your absolute favourite. I’ve made some for you, all different, they’re gorgeous, so pretty, so girly, so woman, so really woman. I used some of our antique fabrics that we collected together to give them a new life, I hope you don’t mind. You once said to me that you can take everything away, just leave me my platform shoes because one can’t do without them. Maybe the most important thing you ever taught me was to put the woman on a pedestal.”Andreas Kronthaler
Marvelous twin sets – of leotard and cardigan – made of Ancient Grecian figure prints; followed by baronial punk tailoring. Rock’n’roll restoration rebels in found fashion – where guys wore golden thigh-high pirates boots and gals liked wooden soled uber platforms. Delighting in a mash up of materials – prairie flower print skirts; jacquard coats; madras check waistcoats, matelassé Alpine flower blankets and English garden flower print platforms. And that was only one look.
High fashion cross dressing from the designer who more than any other dreamed up the whole notion in high fashion. All staged on a stupendous casting that included many loyal Westwoodians. From Mark Vanderloo and Arnaud Lemaire, to Farida Khelfa and the ineffably beautiful Estonian model Kätlin Aas, the latter looking faintly surprised – along with a delightful crinoline, she wore bright red lipstick and a small mock moustache.
“It was a beautiful funeral. A great collection and a fitting adieu to a great designer, who influenced everyone. Myself included since the first days of punk, Malcolm Mclaren and the Sex Pistols,” said Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Vivienne exploded onto the fashion firmament by dressing the Sex Pistols, opening the iconic boutique Sex on Kings Road, inventing punk fashion and being arrested for mocking the Queen’s golden anniversary. All in one year, 1975. Going on to reach Paris over a decade later and establish herself as a vitally important designer. So, it felt only right that the brand’s first show since her leaving should be smack in the center of Paris.
“For me the most important thing was to just continue. That was my aim. I knew I had to get through it. Keep the usual thing going. Work is good, it helps you deal with it. Sometimes something small triggers grief, even just a handkerchief. But we all go through it. Grief is part of life,” explained the noble Andreas.
“Vivienne touched so many people, and not just in fashion. So it helped to see all that depth, sympathy and love. She really meant what she said. I never met anyone so brave,” said Andreas, fighting back tears.
Referencing in this show Westwood’s 1982 Buffalo collection, and the idea of a noble savage coming down from the north and taking over the cities and London. A central part of Vivienne’s DNA, the young woman from Derbyshire, who came south to conquer fashion.
Designer Andreas Kronthaler @ndreaskronthaler
Nails by @nailsbymei @essie
Venue: @hoteldelamarine @lecmn