|Vivienne Westwood: Brilliant and inspired|
Burberry Prorsum has, like clockwork, been turning up efficiently brilliant collections for so long that it nettles when its latest showed unispired looks that looked terribly mehanical - just the usual outerwear cut a little roomier. Compare this with the amazingly inspired Vivienne Westwood collection and you will see what I mean instantly. "Androgynous" doesn't even begin to describe the teagown and cardi aesthetics - this collection had balls (literally in the phallic pendants) and ballgowns and yet looked juicily, boldy, swaggeringly sexy, and very very British, with the kind of haphazard, modern sexuality that is embodied by an episode of Cucumber. Every piece is irresistible. More unlikey beauty came from Calvin Klein Collection - not just from the gilded denim or the silken tailoring but from the exaggerated puffa blousons and coats with the hood/halo - whoever would have thought? But that's what we look at in fashion isn't it? This discovery of beauty in some new way - in this case hoodies with a Renaissance effect.
Prada made me slow and stop for a good look at the collars, key danglies, straps and patched on plackets, pockets, cuffs and collars. Very beautiful motley stuff, poetic and practical - how does she do it year after year? There's some recall of the printed tunic silk shirts from Dolce&Gabbana but taken in a much less literal way and given subtle magic. Beautiful/dowdy (always done so well by Mrs Prada) plaid things.
The fabrics were singing at Ermenegildo Zegna Couture, some very elegant songs. Very elegant stuff that would seem revolutionary if you haven't seen a Dries Van Noten collection. And we do want a revolution from Stefano Pilati, not more subdued, extreme elegance. For these difficult times, a bolder, punkier attitude is called for, don't you think? Just look at Alexander Mcqueen if you can't decide - very beautiful everything, but only the punkish, slightly violent looks register - everything else looks coldly immaculate and harmless. Because we have Pilati/Zegna-ish elegance at E Tautz too, with that interesting 80s inflection. And then at Bottega Veneta, a rumpled version of this elegance, where the plaidy-tweedy ones stole the show - dowdy made so desirable and new it makes one giddy for a weekend in Balmoral with a thermos of good tea.