LFW SS14: Vivienne Westwood Red Label Show Review – Lily and the Red Shoes

Your home is your refuge, the place you feel safe

Vivienne’s idea for the show was to find a way to promote awareness from climate refugees. She gives a quote in the show notes ‘Anyone who gets home late from work and finds she’s forgotten the key. What a disaster! My home is my refuge.’ It is a poignant thought, I like most people have found myself locked out on numerous occasions and it does strike a fear into you, a feeling of disparagement, being lost, a situation you cannot control. Even more so if you have ever been burgled, that feeling of your home being violated, spoiled, no longer safe. Keys can be found, even broken windows and stolen possessions replaced however than feeling of loss will always remain. It is unimaginable how it must feel to not only loose your own house but the place where you live too, the neighborhood you have always known, that feeling of belonging.

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Lily and the Red Shoes

She danced, and was obliged to go on dancing through the dark night. The shoes bore her away over thorns and stumps till she was all torn and bleeding; she danced away over the heath to a lonely little house. Here, she knew, lived the executioner; and she tapped with her finger at the window and said: “Come out, come out! I cannot come in, for I must dance” The Red Shoes, Hans Christian Anderson

Vivienne and Andreas chose to collaborate with close friend Lily Cole who produced and performed an interpretive dance to open the show. The dance was an expression of The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Anderson, the message ‘The dance of death must end’. People world over are left without homes due to climate change disasters, us, the models in the show, we all have our homes to go to tonight, we should help those who do not.

The models faces were painted to look like animals caught in the headlights, trapped in a hostile environment with no means of escape. Stark white faces covered with ash and blood, nails broken from scrabbling to flee, hair wild flowing out behind them. I was reminded of polar bears and badgers, both animals being driven out of their homes by the greed of man. You can see Lily’s dance in the middle of this video:

The Concept and the Collection

For those of you who don’t know the Red Label collection is a diffusion line of the main Gold Label collection which is shown in Paris. The line isn’t directly designed by Vivienne but uses her established techniques to create a more wearable, mainstream range. When you see Red label hanging in stores you see tartan suits, pretty dresses and smart blouses, the effects on the runway are mostly down to clever, trademark Westwood styling. This wasn’t all straight-laced clothes however metaphors with Vivienne’s message were there to be seen. The Gold Label collection I was first reminded of was the S/S 200 ‘Summertime’ collection. An important collection and something of a turning point for Westwood, this collection saw the introduction of the Animal toe shoes, it was an English rose garden of fresh, romantic florals and a handful of tiny, very realistic little insects. A prominent piece were the snail’s used on dresses and in jewellery, metal cast around real snail shells. In this S/S14 Red Label collection the snails returned on necklaces and bracelets, whilst luscious, green florals were there giving abstract prints. Oversized flower corsages were used to add a sense of drama, they represented the giant tropical flowers of the rain forest, flowers of the world brought together. Animals, insects, flowers and people all part of the same world. The snail carries his home on his back, without it he is vulnerable, naked, at risk. Protective chain-mail was draped around models in a trench coat and trousers – paired with a t-shirt and shorts and office shirt and blazer respectively, we need to feel protected in every environment.

It was a small collection 22 looks, the usual is around 50, with this seasons A/W13 only totaling 30. After the somewhat schizophrenic S/S13 collection and the change to Peron from MEG producing the Accessories label shoes there has been some debate as to where the label is heading. This collection though stripped back did have classic elements of Westwood design which she is revered for, the beautiful drape fronted suit (look 3) and the elastic trimmed top (look 13) wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Gold Label collection. The floral printed, sequin drape dresses were beautiful and should sell well. The neon orange heart printed pieces looked out of place overly trend conscious ideas carried over from last S/S. The real stand out feature of the show were the abstract flower corsages in richly coloured satin, embellishing the waist of a black dress, the lapel of a blazer and shoulder of a gown. I really do hope we will see this element realised for retail and that it wasn’t just dressed for the show. Other commercial pieces were the squiggle print satchels and wrap bracelets, squiggle has been a license to print money since it was first used, I just hope it is kept to a minimum there can be too much of a good thing. I still have mixed feelings about the Peron shoes, I really was impressed to see the famous ‘Carrie Bradshaw’ multi-strapped sandals again and the little ragged patchwork ankle boots were fantastic. I can take or leave the basic flat leather sandals and flat pointed pumps, they didn’t signify anything special about Westwood to me. All in all it was a collection which has me very much looking foward to seeing the pieces produced for retail next year, clashing blue pinstripe with florals and little pixie boots with huge corsages is very Westwood indeed.

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Lily’s footsteps…

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Outfit: Tartan Corset

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Wearing: All Vivienne Westwood – Anglomania gypsy dress, Red Label Waspie tartan corset, Gold Label Animal Toe Courts; Agent Provocateur Snakes & Ladders stockings; Wendy Brandes Little Woolf necklace; Nicole Farhi sunglasses.

This is what I wore yesterday on what must have been the hottest day so far, needless to say I was roasting in a corset but hey you gotta do what you gotta do. I really like how floaty and romantic this dress is but the material is actually quite heavy and they dress doesn’t have much shape so needs a belt at the very least. I resuced this dress from TK Maxx’s reject rail, god know what happened to it but it looked like someone had tried chewing the underside of one sleeve, then colouring on it with a red marker! You can’t see the damage once it’s on and I figured nobody was going to be inspecting my armpit so I took it home. It was reduced to something silly like ┬ú20, I couldn’t leave it there could I.

Outfit: Harlequin

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Another one of my summer dresses which got to finally see the light of day this week! The harlequin print is one of my favourites, so bright and colourful. It is from the Vivienne Westwood Red Label collection SS 2007 collection- 6 years ago, wow how time flies! I also have the gold Squiggle print Vivienne Westwood shoes you can see below in the look book but they are skyscrapers so choose the lower heel of the Sunny court shoes. I think gold shoes are so great for summer, they work well with all colours. Then of course in winter they are the perfect party shoes, what more can you ask for in a shoe!

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How to Wear Vintage and Look Current

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Following way 2: Vintage 80s dress and belt, with vintage inspired Vivienne Westwood t-bar shoes, Chanel boucle jacket and brooch, Wendy Brandes Little Woolfe necklace and ONecklace name necklace.

Something I get asked quite a lot is how to wear vintage pieces and still look current and on trend. I had a think about how I wear my vintage and came up with three easy ways to wear vintage:

1. Just wear one vintage piece – the easiest way to work vintage into your wardrobe is to start small. Try adding a vintage necklace or blouse to one of your regular outfits.

2. Wear with modern pieces in vintage influenced styles – designer and the high street both are full of things inspired by past decades. You can use these as a guide to finding and wearing original vintage clothes. If you like the current 1920s influenced trends of drop waists, long necklaces and heavy beading; start looking at original 20s pieces and the styles should look familiar.

3. Look for vintage pieces which haven’t dated– there are some designs which can be decades old yet wouldn’t look out of place today. Think of classic trench coats, black pencil skirts and white button up shirts. These items may be tweaked with each seasons whims but the basic forms will stay the same.

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Following way 3: Vintage Chanel jacket in a blazer style which isn’t recognisable to a specific date, with Topshop jeans, Stella McCartney blouse, Prada shoes

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Following way 1: This Vintage Vivienne Westwood jacket is quite a 90’s statement so I wear it alone with modern pieces- Anglomania blouse and silk trousers, Gold Label shoes, Nichole Farhi sunglasses

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Following way 3: Classic vintage Burberry trench coat’s never date, worn with Vivienne Westwood Red Label dress and Vivienne Westwood pink suede boots.

Outfit: Stuff I’ve Been Wearing

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Wearing: all Vivienne Westwood – white Gigot dress, DIY socks, Tracey trainers all Worlds End; blue Wizard dress, Expensiv belt, DIY socks, Red T-Bar shoes all Gold Label; inset Gigot dress as before, Choas socks, mint green Galo jacket, Silver Piped Courts shoes all Gold Label

Summery – for the odd few days we had sunshine up North

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Wearing all Vivienne Westwood – Red Label tartan jacket and Bondage kilt, Lee denim + Angolmania Drunken jeans, VW print socks, Winter tartan bag, Gold Label yellow leather Roman 3-Strap sandals.

Wintery-Summery – for when it has been a bit nippy, which has been most days, where has summer gone? That’s not my crown by the way, it is on display at the Hat Works Museum, Stockport (more on that soon).

These outfits, mixed and matched a bit, have become my current favourites.I am still really loving the iPhone, Instagram, InstaFrames and my Acer tablet (review coming soon) for being able to share my outfits and also enjoy what you are all wearing.

Outfit: Vivienne Westwood Leopard Dress from ShopStyle + Review

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Wearing: all Vivienne Westwood – Red Label leopard print dress c/o ShopStyle, Melissa Lady Dragon shoes, Accessories lilac bag & gold orb belt.

Today’s outfit post is a little different that usual as I used the shopping site ShopStyle.co.uk to find and purchase this summer outfit. I have been playing around with the site for a while now, so when I was asked to trial the site for review I jumped at the chance. Lets have a look at some outfit snaps, then I will get onto the review, scrolly, scrolly…

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My aim for this outfit was a to find a dress that would see me through summer, one I could dress up or down. Ok so electric blue leopard print might not be everyone’s idea of versatile, but I can wear this for day with bright accessories like I have here, or add black stockings and stilettos with a little clutch for evening.

This actually wasn’t the first dress I ordered, first I had ordered an Anglomania dress and Melissa shoes, there was a big mix up drama but that wasn’t ShopStyle’s fault it was the vendor site Vestiaire Collective, I bought through. I will leave that for another post as I really want to focus on my positive experience with ShopStyle, what it is and how it works. Basically Shop Style is an online shopping service, it scours the interwebs for items on your behalf, basically allowing you to shop multiple sites at once. All you do is enter your search criteria or select from the bar on the right (See below). I typed in ‘Vivienne Westwood’ then clicked ‘dresses’ and limited my budget to ┬ú100 and under. ShopStyle then showed me a selection of dresses matching my criteria. I would usually look at about ten sites individually which I knew stocked the designer, this meant I just had to look at one site. I was really pleased with the search results, it threw up sites I would usually check Yoox, TheOutNet, ASOS etc and also included some I didn’t even know about. It also allows you to shop by ‘sale’ so you can find things which have been reduced, guarantying a bargain. Once you see an item you like ShopStyle redirects you to the site where the item is for sale so that you can view full details and make a purchase. ShopStyle only directs you through to sites, it is then down to the individual website to deal with your purchase.

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It is a social site, so you can ‘heart’ things you like, read trend based articles and browse look books – making the experience even more fun. The only negative I found was that sometimes the items you click on were not available anymore, so I think they need to keep things update more frequently. I got a bit annoyed at one point where everything I seemed to click took me to non existent pages. Other than that it worked really well and saved me a lot of time. I will be using ShopStyle again, they also allow you sign up for tailored sale alerts, so I will get an email when things from my selected searches go on sale. All in all, I think it is a really useful tool. It can also be helpful when you know you want something, but aren’t sure what. You can search ‘Statement necklace’ for example and it will give you a wide range of ideas for inspiration.

All in all, ShopStyle is a great search tool, saving you time and helping you find exactly what you want at the best price.

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My frock on the mannequin, image from Yoox.com

Have you used Shop Style? Does this kind of website appeal to you?

Outfit: Shorts Suit

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Today I am Wearing: Vivienne Westwood – Red Label tartan blazer, grey wool shorts, frill blouse; Gold Label Piped Court shoes in brown.

Just found this half finished post in my drafts, don’t know why it got waylay-ed! If you follow me on Instagram (@superelevated) and Facebook you might remember it was from a few weeks back. I really love this outfit, I know shorts and tartan aren’t suitable for everyone’s work wear but it is perfect for me. I am lucky to have that freedom. This is what I wear for an average smart work look, here I am in the museum carrying out some research and meetings. For something more formal I would switch the shorts for a pencil skirt. In fact that is what I wore for a recent conference, switched the shorts for a black fitted pencil skirt and the shoes for my black suede Animal Toe courts.

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I actually really like wearing quite formal clothes, there is nothing better than a suit to make you feel more confidant. I don’t often have such extremely formal occasions to wear a full suit, so I usually wear them as separates. If you have a formal black or navy suit that only sees light of day for job intereviews, try wearing the skirt / trousers with a soft blouse or structured jumper for a smart but chic look. Blazers / jackets work to add a sleek edge to just about any outfit, over pretty dresses or with jeans.

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I have been posting a lot on Instagram so let me know if you are on there too and I can follow you, don’t forget I am on YouTube now too, again let me know you channels so I can subscribe!

LFW AW13: Vivienne Westwood Red Label

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Climate Revolution is the only means towards a sound economy. When the general public massively switches on to this fact we will win.

What’s good for the planet is good for the economy.

It seems rather trivial to go on to talk about clothes when┬á the message Vivienne is trying so hard to get across is one of utmost importance. I have spoken before about the Climate Revolution, not wanting to repeat myself I will just mention the new part of the Climate Revolution Charter Vivienne handed out on the show notes. She used an emblem of two snakes eating each other to represent ‘climate’ and ‘economy’ and how they go hand in hand. Pointing out how our economic system is run for profit and causes huge waste.

Even though the Red Label collection is quite far removed from the outlandish designs Westwood is know for, we can await the Gold Label show in Paris for that, it has design sensibilities of its own. Red Label is now a go-to for the working woman, perfectly tailored suits, easy to wear figure perfecting dresses, prim cardigans. This ethos was echoed by the final model storming down the runway with a clipboard in hand. Was she busy at work, or busy saving the planet? There is no denying these are beautiful clothes, with tailoring quirks characteristic of Westwood which can be dressed up or down as the wearer may choose. The choice for the show, owing to tradition, was to push the boundaries in the hair and make-up departments. The model’s appeared like a Lichtenstien graphic, all bouffant hair and vivid coloured make up, the lines of the face broken up and played around with. There were no forlorn tears over hapless boyfriends from these girls however. Westwood’s girl is always a fighter, forever imbuing the punk spirit as the Dame does herself, taking her walk wearing the t-shirt she designed in support of Julian Assange.

The show opened with a rugby striped midi-length coat in cobalt and maroon, thigh socks to match of course. The tiger stripe was key to the collection, tying together everything from cocoon jackets to a statement metallic dress with layers and layers of tulle underskirt. The pallet was shades of blue and red highlighted with baby pink and shimmering pewter. The influence of the new Red Label design team (Vivienne herself does not design the collection, rather her team takes inspiration from previous works) which was first seen in SS13 is still evident. As with the previous season there are pieces which don’t quite fit with the usual Westwood aesthetic – the loose fitting sequin top, with a vintage 80s feel stands out, however I think they are settling in well. The tailoring of the jackets with the silver orb buttons is a nice touch from the archives whilst the iridescent beetle leather jacket stole the show. Also new to the Westwood team are the shoe makers Peron, replacing Meg as of SS13. I have been divided about how I feel for the loss of Meg, having created many classic designs for Westwood but also fixating of late on the virtually unwearable ‘Skyscraper’ heel – detrimental to sales I am sure. Peron delved back into the shoe archive for SS13 restyling classic boot designs from the SEX years wavy top with kitten heel and taking the Prostitute shoe to new hights- literally, there was a style to suit all tastes. This season the Strobe shoe was back, a large ‘tongue’ licking over the shoe vamp with a cone heel. The Melissa shoes were featured again, this season in transparent and pale pink with oversized chain-style ankle cuffs.

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