An Ode To Punk. Maison Margiela AW23

The world became a sadder place without the Dame and the Queen of punk, Vivienne Westwood, who passed away just a couple of days before the New Year. Who else could create a more authentic and vivid tribute to Westwood’s work – and the entire subculture she helped create and kept leading – than John Galliano? His co-ed autumn-winter 2023 collection for Maison Margiela, one of the best ready-to-wear collections he’s done for the brand in a while, makes you believe punk isn’t dead. Galliano brought up the term ‘Rorschach test’ for the subjective seeing of different things when we look at fashion. Through these eyes, it looked very like a fierce, urgent reveling in the subcultural spirit of the 1970s and early ’80s in London – Galliano’s youth, but brought forward, mashed up for today. “You might see some familiar figures in it,” he suggested. “Jordan on the King’s Road; the fishnets; Johnny Rotten, maybe.” He’d sent out crude collaged photocopied flyers with his invitations – like fanzines and invites to underground gigs, the way kids navigated nightlife long before mobile phones. A couple of models were clutching them with their handbags as they lurched down the runway, as if in a hurry to get somewhere. In some of their hats, fancifully collaged from trash bags and scraps of tulle, were cockades made from chopped-up flyers. The plaids didn’t look like punk tartan – Westwood’s eternally favorite fabric—but then again, it almost did. And, to these eyes at least, there she was, almost personified in the girls who were dashing along in Galliano’s ingeniously wrapped pencil skirts – the sexy ’50s rocker style that Vivienne always spoke about as the first clothes she loved making for herself as a teenager. If that really was a salute to the late designer, it was also mixed up in the layers and layers of Galliano’s spins on 1950s tulle ballgowns, his huge, swinging opera coats, and chopped-up Americana. There were also Western-type jackets with Mickey Mouse plackets, Hawaiian prints, all seen through a punk, D-I-Y filter. Beautiful and emotionally moving.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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NET-A-PORTER Limited

Vivienne Westwood Forever

I’m lost for words. Our culture has lost another legend, the ultimate DAME, the truest punk, the Queen of British fashion, one of the most caring souls in this industry, a real activist who never cared about the establishment, the one and only Vivienne Westwood. Thank you for teaching us that fashion can be absolutely something more than just clothes, it can speak volumes and be political. Rest in Peace, Rest in Power. You will forever stay in our hearts, and your work and contribution will keep on inspiring. Deepest condolences to Andreas Kronthaler, her loving life-partner, and her family.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Slatterns and Angels. Andreas Kronthaler Vivienne Westwood SS23

For spring-summer 2023, Andreas Kronthaler was in philosophical form. He reported that until his arrival in Paris a few days ago, he’d not been out of London in more than a year. Instead he had stayed at home and read and designed. The book that hit him hardest was Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne by Katherine Rundell. That text on the great metaphysical poet, who saw lovers’ eyes as hemispheres and clothes as states of mind, helped fire this collection. The ragged tricolored cardigan of look 16 and the soulful accordion on the soundtrack signaled Kronthaler’s enchantment at this Paris return. More broadly we were on an imaginative trip through various characters shaped through clothing. Sibyl Buck was particularly magnificent in her two broad-shoulder, Renaissance-man looks. There were slatterns and angels, monks and harlots, nobles and commoners. The models all wore super-high, Vivienne Westwood-signature platforms that even Donne would have struggled to describe. The only missing element was Westwood herself, whom her husband said was back in London taking part in a wave of protests against the government.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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