Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood SS22 was all about quirky sexiness

In contrast to the slinky, sultry vibe we've seen so much of this season, this was proof that is first

by Mahoro Seward
03 October 2021, 5:40pm


“I was thinking of a new beginning,” wrote Andreas Kronthaler in his show notes for the SS22 collection of his eponymous line for Vivienne Westwood, “but in order for this to happen, you have to make space for it.” Indeed, the Austrian designer hasn’t been alone in his thoughts this season. Far and wide, designers have spoken of how the return of fashion weeks in their full pageantry has given them good reason to take stock and put out visual manifestos for what it is they stand for. For some, that’s meant looking inward and restating their core design principles, while others have taken this systemic reset as an opportunity to set new parameters and benchmarks for their practices – to boldly carve out new identities and aesthetics in a brave new world. 

In the case of the show that Andreas staged yesterday in a glass-roofed warehouse in the Marais, it felt like it sat somewhere between those two poles. While there were plenty of iconic Viv-isms at play, in its eccentricity and eclecticism, it felt like a charting of wide-ranging new territory for the brand.  

An air of handwrought resourcefulness informed pieces like single-strapped vinyl wrap dresses, rug print tunics, and headdresses fashioned from the designer’s baby blanket and favourite childhood toy. The sentimentality implicit there was bolstered by the romantic drapes of bias-cut dresses, and bombastic corseted satin and jacquard gowns that came with hulking fabric frames attached. 

This being SS22 — and this being Vivienne Westwood — there was also a good dose of skimpy sexiness on display. Here, though, it felt a little bawdier and cheekier than we’ve seen elsewhere — it was sex with a wink-wink-nudge-nudge sense of humour that cut through the smokey-eyed, smouldering tone that’s informed many a collection this season. The bust of a hot pink ribbed knit mini-dress, for example, was almost comically padded out, and the backs of men’s trousers were slashed, flashing the butt beneath. Thigh-high boots that flared out at the hip were held up by halters, and boys and girls alike wore mod-ish, cut-out latex dresses. In a season where the idea of sexiness seems to be being taken oh-so-seriously, this was a welcome reminder that sexiness — and sex — starts with having fun.

Vivienne Westwood
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