Vivienne Westwood says ‘walk the walk or shut up’ for AW20
Encouraging guests to join a rally for Julian Assange next weekend, Vivienne pushed further and harder with her political agenda.
This season’s Vivienne Westwood show took place at The Serpentine, a few miles away from the rest of the designers showing. Inside, a handful of models -- some wearing paper masks that resembled severed heads -- were interspersed amongst Vivienne’s artwork. At the centre of the exhibition space, a structural installation entitled "Wikileaks", in which friend Julian Assange is represented by a ‘gorse bush’, his neck inside a pillory.
“He’s covered in public abuse, protected by a cloak belonging to John Lilburne -- 17th century founded of human rights -- first pilloried for then solidarity -- gagged for speaking the truth, released by Oliver Cromwell when he won the civil war” Vivienne writes in the show notes models pass out. “It is represented by a champagne bottle, a motif which expresses victory after a battle -- when the hurly burly’s done, when the battle’s lost + won. It represents the triumph.” These words were followed by a call to action: a Don’t Extradite Assange rally taking place in Parliament Square the following weekend.
The clothing, as ever with Viv, was an eclectic and romantic mixture of ideas, materials and patterns. There’s plenty of political iconography (pictures of Thatcher across aprons that read “this woman was once a punk” and a graffitied speech bubble saying “I give u the 1%”) mixed with traditional, sustainable harris tweed on men, flames prints and luxe jacquard dresses on women. The collection’s accompanying show notes went to great lengths to expand on how conscious these designs. From recycled polyester and denim to its use of hemp to its forest positive processes, the words “walk the walk or shut up” painted across one of Viv’s posters are taken literally.
Images courtesy Vivienne Westwood