Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood

‘My life is guided by accidents and occurrences which I can’t and I don’t want to control. There are three circumstances which pointed me to make this collection. First, the Vienna Tourist Board is celebrating the centenary of the birth of Vienna Modernism. Second, I had to clear my family home and its possessions and my childhood bedroom was postered with reproductions of Klimt paintings. Center pride was Danae receiving the golden shower between her legs – which was the favorite for many years. Third, were two children’s outfits from the Wiener Werkstätten, ‘The Vienna Workshops’ (1908-1932). One is a felt two-piece costume raw-cut, decorated with alpine flowers and the second, a glorious little ‘Dirndl’. (Andreas Kronthaler)

Vivenne Westwood was a true star of her own fashion show at Paris Fashion Week. She made a catwalk debut modelling two looks from her new collection designed by her husband, Andreas Kronthaler. Kronthaler payed an homage to Austria, his home country and got really involved with the Viennese Modernism of the 1920’s and 1930’s. ‘I had almost forgot about it, but it was a great time of exchange of ideas’, Kronthaler noted. Westwood modeled two very Austrian looks, an oversized pink and purple pinstripe bomber jacket with matching asymmetrical hem skirt and a black silk ensemble embroidered with gold for her second outing. Both looks were spiced up with court shoes fastened around the ankle with yellow hiking laces, worn over green wool stocking. The Alpine styling, indeed! Kronthaler stayed true to the signature Westwood silhouette, plump and theatrical with its skilfully draped curves that, this time, came in rich Klimt colours. If you were expecting to see the recognizable ‘Der Kuss’, no such luck. Gustav Klimt was the main protagonist of the collection, but Kronthaler’s inspiration was best seen in the geometric prints, long sleeveless floral smock recalling the kind of free-flowing ‘sacks’ the artist liked to wear when he was painting. More wearable spins included a skinny yellow pant and sweater covered in paint splashed, while leggings and basic T-shirts sported doodles of breasts and penises.  A voluminous black hooded cape dress covered in fiery motifs added drama. ‘They were so inspired by Africa in those days,’ Kronthaler explained. ‘There were traveling exhibitions and Klimt went to one in Vienna in the late 19th century, and that’s where all these spirals and triangles and squares came from, because they were using that in their jewelry and fabrics, or whatever.’

However, if you thought that Vivienne Westwood overtook her husband’s more subtle, artistic interpretation of fashion, you were wrong. There were a couple of hints on the runway that suggested she still has the lead role in her eponymous label. A bright teal sweatshirt reading ‘PUNK’ in bold block capitals and more elaborate, iridescent dresses gestured to Westwood’s own creative voice.

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Photo Credit: Luca Tombolini, Indigital.tv

Cover Photo Credit: W magazine