Vivienne Westwood declares war on materialism in hotpants and helmet

Grand dame of style storms into London Fashion Week. Rebecca Gonsalves reports

The spirit of London Fashion Week in the late Nineties was alive and kicking as last night Philip Treacy made his return to the London Fashion Week schedule with a show that reminded us that audacity may still triumph over corporate clout.

A cast of all black models, introduced by Lady Gaga styled in a veil of pink tulle as Treacy's great friend Isabella Blow, wore original Michael Jackson costumes. Liquid gold and quiksilver headpieces, Neverland amusement crowns with working fun rides and LED-ringed full body cocoons were an extension of a collection inspired by Africa, Treacy said.

The designer originally visited the LA auction house Julien's with the intention of buying Marilyn Monroe's false eyelashes. Unable to track them down he stumbled across the collection of Jackson's costumes.

The show displayed Treacy's ability to see his extraordinarily sculptural designs as part of a bigger picture.

Stalwart of British fashion Vivienne Westwood presented her Red Label collection in the marble splendour of the Foreign and Commonwealth office. At a time when London is looking back to its punkish heyday, the grand dame of the movement travelled back further still with a Fifties-inspired collection.

Faces painted in chartreuse and pink were topped with debutante shampoo and sets, headpieces of elaborate English garden blooms and Grace Kelly headscarves printed with technicolour bank notes. Twin-sets in icy pastels were paired with capri pants and pencil skirts. Cocktail dresses in red, abstract oil painting prints and dainty florals were draped and tucked to create Westwood's signature feminine silhouette and teamed with supersized pearls.

The collection was accompanied by a manifesto of sorts, urging a renunciation of materialistic values. "Buy less, choose well, make it last," said Westwood. The designer reprised her role of caped crusader from the Paralympics closing ceremony, unfurling a banner reading "climate revolution" and parading down the catwalk in a rhinestone-covered Second World War helmet, painted handlebar moustache and sheer tights over boxer shorts.

Topshop's Unique label showed a mature offering, the lean silhouette of which contrasted with Westwood's youthful femininity. The mood was one of Nineties minimalism, black and bright white the predominate shades as windowpane checks and florals appeared in monochrome on fluid shifts with assymetric detailing and dipped hems as well as tailored separates.

The emerging and somewhat unlikely trend for dungarees was continued yesterday by Margaret Howell, that purveyor of classically English good taste.

Here the apron-fronted garment spoke of The Good Life, rendered in dark, almost black, denim with a slash of a zip pocket. Poplin shirt dresses were crisp yet not starchy while navy tailoring came as wide-legged trousers, slim cigarette pants and culottes.

A black knitted cropped top and short set trimmed with cream conjured a snapshot of a British beach trip in the Fifties. Adding to the retro holiday mood were smock tops over shorts, lightweight wool pieces and closed-toe T-bar shoes. Polished as ever, Howell is not one who pays heed to trends, but is right on the money with this romantic summertime ideal.

Transport kindly provided by Mercedes Benz.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicHunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original  manuscripts
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
lifeAiming to show breasts in a non-sexual way for cancer awareness
New Articles
i100... while following the referendum
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
Arts and Entertainment
tvBut something’s not quite right
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

    Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

    SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

    £1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

    Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

    £32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week