Vivienne Westwood is a British original, one-of-a-kind, says what she thinks kind of person and both her clothes and her runway shows tend to follow suit. Last season, she sent models down the runway in full zombie make-up, so there was a lot of curiosity as to exactly what she might come up with this season.

Sorry, no more zombies.

Instead, what we got this  season was a throw back to old-school Hollywood glamour of the 1940s, complete with nipped-in waists, cropped jackets, horn-rimmed glasses, printed headscarves, and lots and lots of pearls. We saw a bit of this retro look in New York last week, but no one does it quite like Ms. Westwood. No one else goes to this level of excess or detail.

First off, so much for that blue-toned thing. Westwood has always liked the color red and wastes little time jumping into it. What stands out in this collection are the red tartan pieces. The over-sized checks are dramatic no matter how they’re used, but put them on a suit with extra-broad lapels topped with a black top hat and the look goes over the top, eliciting squeals of glee from the faithful encamped at Somerset House.

Broad stripes, off-center fastenings, and bold detailing continue to be elements that demand one’s attention in a Westwood collection.  A red coat whose lapels form a giant black heart is a perfect example of how a little extra can make a big difference. The triangle shapes on stockings was almost an immensely popular effect. Faux fur shorts got everyone’s attention when they first appeared, and became an instant hit when paired with an identical faux fur coat. Red suspenders with excess trailing will likely sell out the first day they hit store shelves.

Ms.Westwood has suffered some serious health issues this past year, so it is amazing that she was able to present such a sizeable collection. Granted, she gets a tremendous amount of assistance from her family, but she is still very much in charge. She was backstage this afternoon diligently seeing to fittings and watching over makeup. She may be a bit more fragile, but she’s definitely not ready to give up.

Vivienne Westwood walks the finale of her Red Label  collection. Photo credit: Regis Colin Berthelier
Vivienne Westwood walks the finale of her Red Label collection. Photo credit: Regis Colin Berthelier
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