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Prudence Millinery for Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood Autumn Winter 2016 2017

 


Starting from this season, Vivienne Westwood will share her brand name with her husband, Andreas Kronthaler, who has contributed to the design for years while remaining unbilled. Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood thus marks a new narrative chapter, even if the players remain unchanged. Backstage in separate conversations, she said that his design process orients toward spiritual: “He’s more in tune with cosmic forces than I am.” He said the collection felt “nearer to myself,” and that spiritualism has, for now, supplanted Westwood’s activism.

Individualism, however, seemed as potent a message. Perhaps this was a function of the in-your-face gender fluidity (the male models were as likely to be wearing the massive platforms as the women, and come Fall, many pieces will be labeled unisex), or else the misfit styling and proportions, in which outsize sleeves and shoulders turned some models into circus freaks. Others, thanks to toga-style draping, looked like modish monks (this idea was sparked by a longtime assistant to Westwood who became a Buddhist nun).
With an “O” and an “M” tacked to a blue net fascinator, a modified miter, and “Zen” woven into a fantastically trippy jacquard jacket—easily the most collectible piece in the collection—the spirituality felt like a symbolic device rather than a sign of deference. But then it was also unclear whether the guy in a liquid gold lamé dress carrying a bunch of ranunculus was a bride or an idol. The collection’s catchy title, Sexercise, was less evident than the Pieter Bruegel palette. Still, Westwood wasn’t exaggerating when she noted, “It’s really incredible, the amount of innovation.” How’s that for worship?

PARIS, MARCH 5, 2016

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