Shown in the round at the Hotel InterContinental Le Grand, this collection was knock out. Vivienne Westwood walked twice, modelling two looks in the show herself. The rest of the show's cast didn't feel so much like models but like a gathering, a 'happening.' Incredibly effeminate as a collection, ditsy floral prints and faded wallpaper patterns graced off the shoulder dresses with billowing trains. Some men walked too, in dresses, with such a swagger that the heads of both all girls and boys watching very much turned.
Last season, not wanting to be seen as a European exile - post Brexit - this design house celebrated the French and Italian heritage of two of their employees. This season, Andreas Kronthaler spoke in the show notes about how this collection is about exploring his identity as an Austrian designer. Just as historically obsessed as Viv, he cited the interdisciplinary artistic community of the Vienna Workshops (1908 - 1932) as inspiration. Kronthaler made parallels between their time and ours. The era post World War One had been been one of an initial extravagant style for the artists within the Vienna Workshops, and 'a period of hope for peace' but Kronthaler feels that like now there was suddenly 'a danger of things we once knew slipping away'.Takeaway boxes and food wrappers were worn in the hair as a punkish ode to fallen dreams and disappointment. A childlike hope and innocence in the collection arrived via silhouettes that were inspired by two children's outfits made by the workshops. One being a little dirndl skirt and the other being a little two piece felt costume.
Apart from a standout look, which comprised of a vinyl quilted piece in lilac, many of the pieces had a déshabillé quality about them. Dressing gown shapes, off the shoulder smocks and long gowns that were cut high at the back of one thigh saw punk-mythical goddesses covered - but all knowing of their sexual potential for revolution. (Andreas Kronthaler had been renovating his old apartment in Vienna recently, and whilst stripping some wallpaper had come across his own painted version of Gustav Klimt's erotic painting Danae.) Sensual and playful, the collection - and the show's authentic energy - was a timeless portrayal of why the legacy of this house will go on forever.