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Wild Westwood sets Paris show on fire

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD surpassed herself at the Paris ready-to- wear show last night with the highest shoulders, the tiniest waists, the biggest bottoms, the lowest decolettage, the sparkiest dress, and the only standing ovation this season. Even Suzy Menkes and Liz Tilberis - editors who have seen it all - stood to applaud the queen of Paris.

Before the show, a stampede of impatient fashion editors, buyers and over-excited students stormed the metal barriers to get in to see the show of the season.

'A Westwood show is hardly worth killing yourself for, is it?' asked one Australian editor in danger of losing a rib in the crush. Well, actually it was. The frail figure of Comme des Garcons designer Rei Kawakubo was also jammed in the scrum.

Inside, photographers were scrambling and fighting to get their shots of American rock star Lenny Kravitz and the French singer Vanessa Paradis.

This was the fashion pack at its most hysterical.

Viv's hungry crowd were sated by a collection that grew more and more outlandish as the show progressed.

The bum pads that Westwood threw upon an unsuspecting world last season were even bigger, and bottoms (sometimes bare) were caged in wire frames with skirts (sometimes see-through) draped over them.

The collection is called Erotic Zones, and was pantomime horse meets Little Bo Peep meets Sherlock Holmes and Madame Pompadour at the races.

Jackets with peaked leg-of-mutton shoulders in pretty pastel colours were worn with neat pencil skirts falling just above the knee. Hourglass shapes echoed the figure of Mae West.

There was a shirt dress unbuttoned to knicker level and more heaving cleavages in built-up corset tops than could be found in a production of Dangerous Liaisons. Wide patent waspy belts accentuated the waist even more.

At one point everyone held their breath as Naomi Campbell took to the runway in a pair of red, white and blue elevator shoes that were the highest yet.

'They're stuck to me,' she mouthed to photographers.

If proof were needed this was it: Vivienne Westwood has outgrown the ready-to-wear. Her next show should be scheduled to crown the week of haute couture.

(Photograph omitted)