For Andreas Kronthaler and Vivienne Westwood, one unintended consequence of lockdown was a passionate rediscovery of My Fair Lady. Combined with a timely refurbishment of their 1980s vintage couture store on London’s Davies Street, the result was a collection and video titled Mayfair Lady. “It’s an incredible place,” said Kronthaler of the area. “It’s full of history, and you can feel that it was once the center of the world’s most powerful country.” In the autumn-winter 2021 collection’s film, the couple and their talented cast (headed by Caroline Polachek!) showcase Kronthaler’s collection in and around the store, strolling giddily past the London streets. The collection is a joyfully haphazard collage of references (flower girl headpiece, professor’s robe, and so on) sprinkled within a typically anarchic Kronthaler context. Many of the pieces were upcycled, and the designer said his shapes were sometimes dictated by the scraps of fabric available. “We express ourselves in clothes when we dress up,” said Kronthaler in his press notes. Timeless truth.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Vivienne Westwood is the queen, and Andreas Kronthaler loves to embrace that. In his homemade lockdown look book and film, Kronthaler gave Dame Viv such a powerfully Iron Lady coif he confessed that even he saw a passing resemblance. “But in the end the look we went for was more Raine Spencer,” he added over Zoom, referring to the British socialite. Perhaps it was the concentrated nature of this minimally staffed shoot – four models in all, shot by Kronthaler (who doubled as one of them) on his iPhone, with the intention of limiting as far as possible Westwood’s exposure – but it resulted in an especially intense expression of Andreas’ work to reflect that of his muse and wife. There was a lovely symmetry in the casting of Sara Stockbridge, a longtime Westwood model, who joined what looks like a fun day of dressing up. Garments to love include the Buy Local London map–print shirt worn by Stockbridge, VW in full “Acid Raine” mode, and Kronthaler in leggings and a wig that harked back to Flashdance. The clothing was as archetypally of the house as the expression was divertingly barking. Sustainable, sensational, confrontational, and uncontainable. And the look-book is a visual treat.
Collages by Edward Kanarecki.