Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood storms the palace for AW20
With a scene-stealing final look from Bella Hadid and a soundtrack by No Bra, the show perfectly blended rebellious politics with satirical humour to illustrate the joy of self-expression.
All the talk from this show will surround Bella Hadid’s scene stealing final look. Resplendent in a sheer white lace dress, puffed out sleeves, leather belt, and, er, a dagger? She slowly made her way down the runway, and was greeted by Andreas Kronthaler and Vivienne Westwood, and took her bow with them and a huge bunch of flowers. What was it all about? “It’s just very sexy isn’t it?” Andreas said post-show.
Staged under the historic, Baroque ceilings of the Hotel de Ville — the heart of Paris’s government, the centre of its civic life — it was, Andreas suggested, about storming the palace, or at least bombarding it with love and joy and fashion. Soundtracked by No Bra — who Andreas met recently at the ICA, fell in love with, and then, asked to play the show and write some new music for the occasion — it was a show that mixed rebellious politics with satirical humour and fantastic joy in the pleasure of dressing, the power of self-expression.
The collection started with Andreas thinking about the classic blue French chore jacket, this very quotidian garment, reimagined and reworked into new visions of elegance, injecting some modern streetwear energy into it.
And it all stemmed from elegance, Andreas explained, a desire to create clothes to match the grandeur of the surroundings — wild dresses, new shapes, extravagant silhouettes — but each created with restraint in mind. The excess tempered with simplicity, or set off against a note of humour; a towering hat made of French red, white and blue rosettes, a necklace made of garlic bulbs to ward off evil spirits.
This was Andreas’s ninth collection as the head of the Vivienne Westwood operation, he’s succeeding because he’s not resting on the house’s old silhouettes, but taking it’s still relevant ideas — politics, commitment, joy — and updating them for now.
Photography Mitchell Sams