Vivienne Westwood at London Fashion Week September 2011


Last Saturday night I lost my catwalk show virginity to the most eligible designer out there, our very own national yellow-haired treasure, Vivienne Westwood. We hot-footed it down to the most unlikely of venues, Smithfields meat market, to cast our eyes upon the Red Label Spring/Summer 2012 collection.

Standing in the queue amongst the surrounding chaos was an interesting people watching activity, the paps flashed the opening of black car doors as they pulled up with seemingly unknown hipsters inside whilst boys with perfectly sculpted quiffs and clipboards teared around attending to unknown important business.

Oddly enough we spent more time waiting in the queue than actually in the venue itself which was the unglamourous, drafty, majestic and historic meat market, steeped in over 800 years of livestock history. Models had to strut down the uneven concrete gangway in towering heels as the audience looked over from the raised seating either side, in the audience we spotted Tracey Emin and Pamela Anderson.



The show itself mostly featured Westwood's affordable Red Label collection, taking its designs from 20 years of archives with a few token pieces from the Gold Label Red Carpet Collection. The clothes themselves were in Springtime hues of greens, yellows and silvery blues, tailored with the classic Westwood A-symmetric shapes with movement to wear it in your own way with added on pieces which can be tied and wrapped around to your liking. What really stole the show was the hair by Malcolm Edwards at D+V using L'Oreal Professional and the makeup by Alex Box at D+V and the M.A.C Pro Team. Barnets soared ten inches above the models heads, backcombed to within an inch of their lives and sprayed white and gold colours, hair pieces were interwoven into rope-like sculptures which wound around the models necks in some cases. Makeup was futuristic and colourful, with silver cheekbones and bright blue and green eyelids.

As always, Vivienne had an ulterior motive behind her show and this time it was to promote the environmental charity she is working with, Cool Earth, who have a low-cost plan to save the world's most vulnerable rainforests by 2020. She is making personal contributions to help the charity work with the indigenous people of the Congo, Borneo and Amazon rainforests to turn around the destruction caused by illegal logging.

Despite being at the forefront of British fashion for the past four decades, Vivienne was advising her young admirers not to pursue a career in fashion but turn their skills to 'more interesting' exploits instead.

"I use my fashion as an excuse always to talk about things on my political and cultural agenda," she said before the show began. "Fashion gave me a voice, it gave me credibility. People think I can do such and such so they are willing to listen to me, and that's really good."

Within 15 minutes it was all over, the end was marked by Vivienne leading the procession of models back down the catwalk to applause and cheers of approval and admiration, we were then quickly ushered out and the rigging was taken down to transform the market back to its original function following it's designer treatment.


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