There's something riotous in the fact that Vivienne Westwood seems to design for no-one except herself. Not necessarily for her to wear - despite her always-adventurous personal style, there were a few outfits on her Autumn/Winter 2012 catwalk that would challenge even her sartorial limits - but for her own entertainment. She once said that however outlandish or unwearable, her fans would love a garment because she had designed it. That's pretty much her only criteria too.
This show was as oddball and off-the-wall as any Westwood shows past, complete with Elizabethan embroidery, stout English tweeds, laser beams and a model cycling down the catwalk in feathered evening-gown and platforms, much like Dame Vivienne herself does. And as with any Westwood show, some was good - the knitwear for sure, and pieces such as a corset reconfigured as tight-waisted tweed bomber-jacket, for example, with mini-farthingale, bringing costume bang up-to-date. The too-pointed shoulders on a few too many power-suits, the heavy-handed embellishment and clumsy bunches of fabric cluttering many outfits, alas, were part of that old Westwood tradition of being first but worst. Although as it's unlikely we'll see them emerge on any other catwalk soon, maybe the first bit doesn't count.
It's probably true to say that there will be a madcap audience willing to grab many of these clothes, and if not their key ideas will trickle through Westwood's subsidiary lines of sportswear and jeans until they have been thoroughly sanitised, fit for consumption by anyone. Today they felt a little too rich, on the whole, for adequate digestion.