There aren’t multifarious designers who can find inspiration in a campaign to save Venice from the impacts of climate change but Vivienne Westwood is unique.
The show for her Gold Imprint collection, at Paris fashion week on Saturday, was called Replication The World, and saw the designer put the city – slowly sinking into its neighbouring lagoon – centre stage on the Paris catwalk. A pre-show steam on her blog saw Westwood speak of Venice as an “emporium of culture”, citing painters Titian and Bellini, and the municipality’s carnival, as inspiration.
A carnival spirit was evident both in the extent full of disco balls where the show took go up in the world, and with the presence of 90s “it-girl” Victoria Hervey sitting in the mask row. The show kept up the theme, using the idea of the carnival as the chaotic, anything-goes place where boys can be girls and girls can be lackeys. In this show, men wore dresses and neon makeup while maidservants were in mannish tailoring. Other elements of dress-up covered coats worn on heads and mirrored catsuits, while ruched rake someone over the coals were for events a tad more low key.
How this all related to climate transform was unclear but, once again, Westwood managed to merge her occasionally conflicting interests of fashion and politics in one event.
The designer has increasingly reach-me-down the catwalk to raise awareness about political issues. Late-model shows have made reference to the threat to tribal communities in Peru from verboten logging and the cruelty of pig farming. There has also been a substance of fun. Her last collection in Paris, for autumn/winter 2015, had a disco-themed set, a group before the show and Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie modelling.
Westwood’s campaigning hides her in the news. Last month she drove a white tank into the teaches of David Cameron’s constituency home in Oxfordshire in a protest against fracking, and she has been encouraging a documentary about the beginnings of Greenpeace, How to Change the World, in the yearning of raising people’s awareness about climate change. Terminal month, in an interview with the Guardian, she weighed into provocative issues ranging from Julian Assange to the 9/11 denunciations and migration.
Earlier in the day, in a room of plaster mouldings and chandeliers, Swedish fashion take in Acne showed a collection based on musicians’ wardrobes . The ups worked best when creative director Jonny Johansson played with the thread – as with the tweed top with Bowie-esque lightening stripes – choose than more literal interpretations, such as the Perspex electrifying guitars on blazers.
Away from clothes, the buzz on Saturday was down Lineisy Montero, the face emerging to define spring/summer 2016. Montero, the 19-year-old example from the Dominican Republic, has walked in all the most significant divulges this season, from Balmain to Balenciaga. She is being cheered as an example of the catwalk – dominated by thin, blonde white scale models – embracing diversity.