What a redemption this collection was! Last season saw the Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood show play copy-cat to British designers duo Rottingdean Bazaar and womenswear designer Louise Gray with their explicit rip-offs. Westwood's team donated an apology in ways of a bench and plaque, rectifying the issue. Fashion rage quelled, apologies heartfelt, this collection wiped the slate clean, with a truly refreshing offering from the house of Westwood.
Where last season failed to deliver on essential Westwood components - period elements, tongue in cheek sex appeal and a political undertone - this season had the trifecta. Historical drama was met with a Sofia Coppola mood as Kronthaler cinched waists, padded hips and piled high Marie Antoinette hair. The female form was extended with a pooling of fabrics on skirt that felt akin to drooping petals or saddle bags. There was also a distinct focus on the breast by the way of ultra padded sweetheart necklines or additional petal flaps, which added a little whimsy.
Wonderfully wearable suits - both blazer and boiler - came in Westwood stripe, kick flare and crochet, typically ending in stomping great platforms. More frivolity and fun was to be had with the buff boys in pants. Muscle-bound Adonises appeared in crochet bralette, Y-front or graphic print t-shirts, flexing before the photographers' pit, the front row mouths agape and giggles aplenty.
In true Westwood D.I.Y. form, set designer Gary Card and his team were adding and adjusting to the paper mountain that stood centre stage throughout the performance - each volunteer kitted out in logo garb. The paper set not only matched the paper-bag waists and crinkle effect on trousers, but added a London-centric nuance. Perfect for whizzing skateboards and scooters to circle too.
Kronthaler had been looking to the skateboarding girls of Kabul, photographed by Jessica Fulford-Dobson, as a key influence throughout, and, as such, models skateboarded and scootered rings around the space. Some in heels, some in delicate veils, some semi-naked - all brilliantly entertaining. As the muscle-bound buffs walked for the final time each holding a Westwood book to shamelessly plug - hey, sex sells! - the crowd roared with enthusiasm. Rightly so, this was a roaring success.