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Vivienne Westwood's Offer Autumn/Winter 2013 Collection

posted 3 Mar 2013, 09:59 by Mpelembe   [ updated 3 Mar 2013, 10:00 ]

British designer Vivienne Westwood's latest collection, full of colour and rich embroidery, is inspired by the Dark Ages and the cultural exchanges that occurred between Europe and the Arab world during the Crusades.

PARISFRANCE (MARCH 2, 2013) (REUTERS) - British designer Vivienne Westwood revealed a colourful, ethnic and historically-inspired collection on Saturday (March 2) of Paris Fashion Week inside the modern art museum Palais Tokyo.

The designs made numerous references to medieval Europe and the cross-cultural exchanges that occurred between Europe and the Arab world as a result of the Crusades.

Westwood told Reuters that she was greatly influenced by the beautiful illustrations in illuminated manuscripts harking back to that particular era: "I always impose, superimpose, my politics onto my fashion. Usually, mostly, through graphics. And so when you look at the manuscripts, you know, the writing is very very important and so somehow these graphics give you the feeling also of the manuscripts. I did quite a lot of embroidery based on the beautiful borders from the illuminated manuscripts."

As usual, Westwood printed environmentally-conscious slogans on her garments in support of climate change policy, such as the one on the back of a multi-coloured cape.

Taking the theme of the Dark Ages further, Westwood sought to emulate the tailoring of the epoch: "You'll see lots of things flying around as you walk, because they did do that. Everything was hanging and draped and making a movement and with the dynamic of the body."

Despite Westwood's historically-imbued collection, there were a few numbers that transgressed the period and were actually quite modern, such as the gold sequinned evening dress, the gigantic ostrich hair boa, and the jackets with their structured shoulders.

Westwood's autumn/winter 2013 was a drastic departure from her past collections in that there was very little evidence of her trademark punk aesthetic. The "Grande Dame" of British fashion is frequently credited for bringing modern punk into the mainstream. Westwood began her sartorial career in 1970, teaming up with former partner and Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren to shape the iconic look of London's punk movement (i.e. slogan T-shirts, chunky platforms, Union Jacks, safety pins, etc.) via the stock they sold at their avant-garde, alternative clothing boutique on King's Road, West London.

Although she is now 71, Westwood still presides over British fashion nearly four decades after entering the industry, presiding over a multi-million pound empire known for its rebellious, tongue-in-cheek approach.

Paris is the final leg of the international Fashion Week whirlwind, following New York,London and Milan and runs from February 26 to March 6.