In a spring/summer season that has seen designers playing to their own strengths – going back to their roots, if you will – Vivienne Westwood did just that at her Gold Label show in Paris yesterday.
To the not-so-dulcet strains of Sid Vicious's "My Way", Britain's most famous fashion designer sent out a strong mix of signature draped knitwear and jersey that looked just as light as it did spirited. Now, as always, the woman who wears Westwood is no shrinking violet.
Here, too, were cute tailored micro-shorts in the type of masculine fabrics usually reserved for men's tailoring and jackets also borrowed from menswear, with soft, broad rounded shoulders and frayed edges.
Westwood makes no secret of her love of a DIY aesthetic that gives new meaning to the term "undone". Evening wear, in particular, which was less overblown than it has been, looked brilliant pinned and tucked around the body to precious but always proudly unfinished effect.
Once again, the pioneering designer used the catwalk as a vehicle through which to express her political views. Green issues and global warming are high on Westwood's agenda as is her ongoing campaign against homogeneity and indiscriminate consumption. This, rather brilliantly, only served to enhance the audacity of her aesthetic which seems as relevant now as ever.
If the A-list was conspicuous by its absence at the spring/summer collections in Milan earlier this week it was out in force yesterday in Paris, the last stop on the international designer fashion circuit.
Bruce Willis and his wife Emma Heming, Dita Von Teese and Rihanna all took pride of place in the front row at Dior, among the biggest shows of the week. So what did Dior's designer, Gibraltan-born, British-educated John Galliano, have to offer his customers – not to mention the aforementioned beautiful people – for the forthcoming season?
He stated as inspiration film noir and specifically a young Lauren Bacall. His models emerged with immaculately coiffed hair, true red lips and sultry hooded eyes. The references didn't stop at the styling. "Bogart" trenches came in everything from houndstooth check – a time-honoured Dior signature – to python and from classic sand-coloured gabardine to satin-backed crepe. The iconic outerwear was cut short and sweet throughout – Galliano is not the only designer who feels there's really no need for anything to fall below mid-thigh next season.