It was political corruption and scandal that had got Vivienne Westwood and Andreas Kronthaler going for S/S 16. The Westwood show notes and invitation informed us boldly that ‘Politicians are Criminals.’ Well you can’t argue with her there. At first glance, after the first few models had entered the runway, you’d be forgiven for thinking she was making a comment about the many sex scandals that dominate politics. This was her most sensual show for a while; the first model emerged in teeny speedos, while one came out with an unbuttoned leopard print shirt and glittering gold cock necklace. Another wore a backpack strapped to his front decorated with bare breasts, a nod to those iconic and highly copied Seditionaries tops. But look a little closer - in fact, look directly at the writing on those teeny trunks - and it was Venice that Westwood was preoccupied with. ‘Salva Venezia’, urged the pants. Fashion loves to flirt with notions of sustainability, but other than fellow Brit Stella McCartney there’s no-one who cares about climate change with quite the same ferocity as Westwood. So no wonder Venice is on her mind. It’s sunk a worrying 23cm in the last century due to rising sea levels. The passion for that city had inspired the prints and patterns that decorated leggings, trousers and jackets.
With all that attention on rising water, had Westwood forgotten her true enemy - the politicians? Not if you looked closely (plus it’s one and the same to her - she argues climate change and global warming are their doing). She’d taken their uniform - and a Westwood staple - the suit and messed with it, pulling trousers down and slicing up jackets. Some tailored trousers were cut to hang low below the crotch, sewn to a pair of faux-boxers underneath. Caught with their pants down! It resembled the kind of school boy tricks that young politicians no doubt played on each other while at Eton. You can bet that Westwood hates those kind of upper class high jinks - in fact maybe that’s what that gold penis stood for. A dick. What an emblem for so many politicians.