Just as her clothes don't follow trends, beauty at Vivienne Westwood is never a statement of pretty. Val Garland for MAC described the look at Red Label as 'bonkers, painterly and humorous'. It was as if the girls had taken over their mother's dressing table for the morning, and gone wild with whatever came to hand. The result : pale, almost white complexions à la Black Swan, with bold eyeliner in primary red, blue and yellow contouring the eye, super-defined brows and red lips lined with either black or more colour. Playful face paint is what came to mind. The nails received a similar treatment, with Marian Newman theatrically airbrushing paint onto the girls' fingers, to make it seem like polish had gone all over the place. In contrast, the hair was very old Hollywood glamour, almost overdone, echoing the clothes which had a kind of grunge grown up air about them. Vivienne's woman is still irreverent, but she now has a job and needs to dress the part.
As the Queen of punk emerged from the wings wearing her face on a t-shirt emblazoned with the words 'I am Julian Assange', you suddenly got it: Westwood is a designer, yes, but more importantly she is a voice. You might, as she once put it, 'have a more interesting life if you wear impressive clothes', but that doesn't mean you shouldn't care about everything else happening around the world. Climate change, dirty politics, false propaganda : her stories extend beyond the realm of the physical garment. And that is how it should be.
See the AW13 Red Label show here.