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Thursday, 22 September 2011

Catwalk Review - Vivienne Westwood Red Label AW 2011

I have a long standing obsession with Vivienne Westwood. Her designs may be wacky, at times to the point of being unwearable, but then I've always been drawn towards costume. The themes of traditional British heritage mixed with punk styling just work so effortlessly and she cuts her clothes with such skill and cleverness. Since I've been interested in dressmaking I can usually reduce an item of clothing to it's component pattern pieces in my mind, even if I can rarely if ever reproduce these pieces in fabric, but Westwood designs often baffle me!

So of the few fashion week collections I make a habbit of perusing each year, Westwood is almost always the first. I may not have a hope of affording any of the pieces, let along fitting in to them if I could, but there are always a couple of themes and unexpected juxtapositions that a mere mortal of average build can reproduce from the highstreet. This year's Autumn/Winter Red Label collection is no exception.
I'm an absolute sucker for a pencil skirt at the best of times, it's the most common shape in my wardrobe, so I'm sure I could whip together something like this. I love the mix of smart, boyish shirt with vampy skirt and the accessories are perfectly understated. Statement belts are everywhere this season, this red suade hinge belt from River Island for £15 is a cute mix of smart and glitz for £18.
For a shirt, though I have always wanted the perfect oxford from a proper tailor, a man's shirt will work just as well. Wearing it tucket tight into something high-waisted will avoid that shapeless blocky look that can come from wearing mens un-darted clothing. Primark have a surprisingly tasteful range of shirts for around £8 or sometimes even less. I already want the fine red and blue stripe slim fit I bought for fiance a while back. Might nick it out of his wardrobe when I get home! Though a blue and white stripe is even more classic.
Layering is my new best friend now the weather's getting cooler. I still want to get the best use out of my chiffon blouses and satin pussy-bows but don't feel like shivering the day away. There are a lot of chunky patterned knits around this season but for me a skinny knit long line cardi is the perfect throw over item when teamed with a skinny belt. This one in rust red from H&M is adorable for £24.99

There's a mustard yellow one in New Look which is equally versatile and would tie in with the mauve and tan thing I already have gonig on from summer. According to the above I wouldn't be out of season with this combo. I'm also loving the print dress/long socks/cardi combo in the second picture. I'm tempted now to nip back to the boutique sale at Awear which still has some amazing reductions and some dresses that would translate well into autumn. This print tie waist dress is only £19 and though the print is quite bold it would look fab with a pale, well draped cardi. Even the shape is slightly Westwood! I may have to swap the knee highs for a pair of opaque grey tights (also popular on this year's runways) to save that inch of inch of chilly flesh.

Colour and shape are always very important in Vivienne Westwood collections and this season's colours are right up my street.

From this skirt it looks like I need to be digging out and stocking up on turquoise, rust, navy and tan. Easier said then done when I found the Clarissa Jersey Midi dress at Boohoo.com for only £20 available in both colours (as well as black) and I can't decide! I think this may be the most versatile shape of the season (and look, another sexy big belt) so if I don't decide on a colour soon I may be forced to buy both!


And finally one more amazing dress from the collection. When Westwood does a LBD she does it with some real pazazz,. Look at that draping! I'm going to have to figure out how she does it as I'm now set on having this kind of cowl neckline for my bridesmaids. Mix it with the circle skirt from the dress above and a big sash belt and they should be wonderfully flattering.

Hooray for Vivienne Westwood! She may be crazy, but she's my kind of crazy!

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