When viewing a Vivienne Westwood runway show, the viewer is presented with an interesting set of challenges. Westwood is very political, this season she had a leaflet about saving the Arctic among her show notes, but it is sometimes hard to interpret her politics from her art. Furthermore, her aesthetic, while instantly recognizable, runs such a wildly varying gamut; in this collection from medieval peasant garb to sharp-tailored suiting. It's enough to give you sartorial whiplash if you try to glean a message or a cohesive stylistic statement from the runway. It's simplest to just enjoy each look on its own, as there is plenty to enjoy.
Westwood designs for so many different women, it's a shame that many never look past her punk aesthetic. There was beautiful, professional office wear in this collection. Pinstripe and gray wool suits, stylish and flattering day dresses and a beautiful high-necked red top with high waisted, voluminous pinstriped navy pants with pleating that resembled draping more than regular pleats.
Then there were more typically Westwood pieces. The same sharp suiting constructed with black leather, a layered look comprised of a knobby tribal poncho over a T-shirt, silk skirt, harem pants and knee socks. Whether she's doing wearable pieces with wide appeal or her own mix of punk-cum-old-world it's always a whole lotta look. Her runway is like an art show more than almost any other ready-to-wear designer and there's great enjoyment in taking in each look individually without trying to string a thread through the show as a whole.