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
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
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
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
Life and Style
food + drink
News
video
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
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

    CCNP Network Engineer - Farnborough, £250 pd

    £250 per day: Orgtel: Network Engineer (CCNP), Cisco Gold Partner, Farnborough...

    Technical Consultant Configuration, SQL, SQL Server

    £55000 - £65000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Technical Cons...

    Lead Business Analyst - Banking - London - £585

    £525 - £585 per day: Orgtel: Lead Business Analyst - Investment Banking - Lond...

    Commercial IT Solicitor - London

    Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Commercial IT Solicitor - London We h...

    Day In a Page

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home