Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood Gold Label A/W 2015. Photo credit: Marcus Tondo /

I can quite easily sum up this Vivienne Westwood gold label collection in one word: OUCH!

I am quite fortunate to now be sitting in a room where the only sound is that of the heater blowing. I cannot imagine what life must be like at this moment for anyone who had to leave the show and attempt to drive is Paris traffic (which is always horrid on Saturdays), or care for small children, or exist most anyplace where the decibel level is much above a whisper. While we fully expect a Westwood show to be a visual cacophony, and to that degree it did not disappoint, we don’t necessarily expect our ears to be assaulted as they were this afternoon. Did anyone get the name of that band? I want to make sure I avoid them in the future.

Actually, given the set with long metallic colored streamers draped from the ceiling and scattered on the floor, in addition to the really bad punk band, after about three minutes I imagined that this must be what it’s like to be trapped in a basement in Portland, Oregon with a roommate who mistakenly thinks he’s Ozzy re-incarnated, despite having been told numerous times that Ozzy isn’t dead yet.

Clothes. Yes, the clothes. We’re here to talk about the clothes. And … well … most people were wearing them. Sort of. Again, like being trapped in a Portland basement where all the guests at your roommate’s party are drunk, high, or most likely both. I would have sworn at one point someone was wearing the dining room tablecloth like a cape, playing the glorious superhero. Not joking. Being gender neutral was a theme of this collection, so the men wearing lace dresses was nothing of a surprise and, since we’ve seen Westwood shows before, we’re to the point now we really wish the guys would at least shave their legs. What was more impressive was the amazonian woman who was every bit of seven foot tall. The still image doesn’t do her justice because one needed to see the way she nearly plowed down the models behind her to have an adequate frame of reference.

Actually, there were several near collisions on this rather narrow runway. The fact that the “gowns” in the collection were draped over dowel rods that threatened to bop the noggins of everyone on the front row didn’t help that matter any. In many ways, this is a standard Westwood collection: oversized everything with excess material pulled in contrary directions and pinned down to prevent escape. The super-tall hats are new this season and are one item I fully expect to be a hit. A bride and groom both in white finished the show, and it was a little sad that he looked better in his than she did in hers.

As with any Vivienne Westwood collection, there are a lot of individual pieces that are really quite attractive. One just has to sort through all the painful noise to find them.

Next season I swear I’m packing ear plugs for this show. Pantera and System of a Down I could handle. This was just too much noise.

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