There are a lot of dramatic moments this Paris Fashion Week. Some directly refer to the atrocities going on in our world (Balenciaga), some deliver Old Hollywood glamour through an alien lens (Rick Owens). Andreas Kronthaler isn’t keeping it quiet either. Vivienne Westwood’s life partner and creative right hand delivered a bracingly engaging collection that was loaded with bold character. For this entertaining line-up, the designer said in his show notes that he’d wanted to pay tribute to the world of theater, plus express lightness. He also had worked “to find the muse in me.” One distinctly Andreas touch was the dandy-ish gentleman in the severe checked loden-cut coat – so too were the handsome boys in silky ruched dresses. Caped hoodies and ruche-backed tracksuits provoked the jotting “medieval athleisure” (the clothes alluded to various historical periods, creating a sort of anachronic, wearable puzzle). Crystal-fringed, 1970s-style silver sports shorts, corseted strumpet dress and track pants decorated in a rough-edged harlequin diamond pattern looked cool right away. Usually, Kronthaler’s collections feel as if somebody visited the attic, opened a dusty chest standing there, and played dress-up with all the treasures that were inside. This season it’s no different, but the amusing theatre theme makes it feel less haphazard and more convincing – especially the vintage-y vibe factor of these runway „costumes”. Westwood herself was hauled onstage as the curtain drew back and Kronthaler’s cast took in the lengthy applause. Flowers were thrown and bouquets exchanged. Then, Westwood did some hauling of her own, pulling granddaughter Cora Corré out of the crowd. A lovely family moment.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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.