London Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2023: Vivienne Westwood


Wren Bulawin

Vivienne Westwood Spring/Summer 2023 brings blue tartan print blazers and trousers and bags to the runway for London Fashion Week as well as patterned socks paired with platform slides to complete the look. Westwood’s famous corsets also make an appearance in this collection.

Kaitlyn Luu, Staff Writer

Known for her idiosyncratic 18th century-inspired designs and bold and loud punk influences, Vivienne Westwood has cemented herself as one of the UK’s most renowned designers. For decades, her eponymous brand has been making headlines during London Fashion Week for her innovative clothing designs that were ahead of its time.

As Vogue columnist Luke Leitch puts it, “Strictly she’s a Dame (a title bestowed on her by the British state), but Vivienne Westwood is often described as a queen, whether of Punk or British fashion.” The fashion house’s latest ready-to-wear collection “Born to Rewild” proves this by bringing new things to the table and simultaneously sticking to its roots.

Westwood’s punk-inspired clothing from the 70s still resonates with recent collections through flamboyant yet subversive sartorial designs. At the helm of Vivienne Westwood’s creative vision, Andreas Kronthaler challenges conventions of dress with lavishly risqué pieces and decadent accessories. Outrageous, revealing clothes are a quintessential part of the brand image, as evidenced by Kronthaler’s stylistic choices.

Another standout element featured this season is the callback to past collections, namely “Pirate” (1981) because of the historical references that are displayed. Kronthaler’s work emulates bygone fashions with tailoring designs and cuts reminiscent of the Rococo Era, a time period that Westwood herself has drawn inspiration from. Structural nuances in the blouses and gowns display remnants of the extravagant silhouettes that were in Vogue centuries ago. Corsets, pearl embellishments, and tartan patterned garments are a few examples of elements derived from archived seasons.

Environmental activism and raising awareness about climate change are relatively new developments that have been introduced to Vivienne Westwood. The collection is named after the organization Rewilding Britain, which promotes the reintroduction of wildlife into ecosystems through fundraising and other operations. This collaboration is just one instance of Westwood’s sustainability advocacy and her passion for environmental protection.

Vivienne Westwood has evolved immensely over the years but nonetheless retains its impact on the fashion industry decades after the luxury brand’s debut runway show in 1981. Westwood is not one to shy away from overt and provocative expression or stifle her boundless creativity, and this collection surely makes that a point. Her pioneering work is a testament to the rudiments upon which she built a fashion empire that still greatly influences the industry. Reverting to her tried and true methods, “Born to Rewild” perfectly incorporates new elements while reworking old ones from signature styles.