PFW: VIVIENNE WESTWOOD F/W 2014

For her gold label fall/winter 2014 collection, Dame Vivienne Westwood went with a theme inspired by couture designer Charles Frederick Worth and Peruvian Ashaninka tribe designs.

I’ll just pause here and let your imagination play with that concept for a while, because if you are the least bit familiar with Ms. Westwood’s extravagantly costumed designs you know she’s not the least be afraid to step way out on a limb. In fact, she delights in it.

Now, let’s see if all the Westwood staples are in place. Dramatic makeup? Yes, very tribal in bright colors. Dramatic prints mixed together? Absolutely. Every ensemble is a rainbow unless it’s black. Big hats? Of course! Someone call Pharrel! Mixed textures and fabrics? All over the place. Unexpected application of mesh, a fringed sash, and potentially inappropriate use of sheer are high on the list.

If one is looking for the amazing and outlandish, this Vivienne Westwood collection absolutely does not disappoint. Every outlandish expectation is covered and then some. But, don’t look now, underneath all the drama and makeup these are, once again, very wearable clothes.

Well, okay, let me backtrack on that. There is one skirt in the collection I’ve no idea how she put it together so whether one can actually wear it without a live-in stylist putting it together for you may be an issue.

Still, for all the fun and revelry, the fact remains that Dame Westwood’s silhouettes are largely very fitted, very sexy, and more appropriate than one might anticipate. Pieces in crushed velvet are especially attractive and a green dress with red applique love birds was almost certainly a best-seller by the time it reached the end of the runway. Like flannel? Pay careful attention, because while they came down the catwalk with some… uhm … interesting pairings, there are some killer flannel looks here that elevates the material from the farm to fine couture wear, specifically a cropped waist coat with tails.

And, I’m sorry, I don’t have enough space to get into all the shoe looks. Everything from modified combat boots to … uhm … well, I’m not sure what to call them so you’ll just have to look for yourself. The Westwood shoe line is always cool and original.

The final look is bridal, yet again, this time with white polka dots on her face and a bodice that is probably much more sheer than a bride’s mother might like, though I would worry about any groom that would complain. Watch out, though, the antique lace detailing visible under the tulle is what really grabs hold here and will make you want this gown, even if you haven’t settled on a groom just yet.

This is classic Vivienne Westwood: beautiful, wild, energetic, and sexy. Fashion just doesn’t get more fun than this.

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