This collection is my dream. I didn’t know how to explain it to Vivienne, I just had to do it. I left the house and thought I was in Paris and something in the sky made me realise how much I wanted to be there.
‘Super-Infinite – The Transformations of John Donne’ by Katherine Rundell – a wonderful writer – is a portrait of an exceptional man and the era of James I of England.
‘John Donne understood that when we dress we ask something of the world. All clothes speak say wish me, or ignore me, or take my words more seriously than you would if you were not wearing this hat’. A hat that is too smart takes away glamour. (Chanel knew this when she said ‘when you go to the market, people are always right’).
“When Donne mocked the clothes of his compatriots, he mocked the pettiness and lack of imagination of what they were asking for. Beautiful people are rarely effortlessly beautiful and he knew it. (The best dressed people spend an enormous amount of time thinking about the line and shape of clothes and imagine themselves in a myriad of outfits before putting on a pair of trousers).
The image of Donne certainly required a lot of thought. It has been an integral part of the theatricality of her work throughout her life. He had realised that the way one presents oneself, one’s voice and one’s look are not frivolities to be left alone, but weapons to be wielded’.
Nothing is effective without wit wit is integrity. Donne wrote
But he who loveliness within Hath found, all outward loathes, For he who colour loves and skin, Loves but their oldest clothes.
The oldest clothes, the skin in which one is born. He understood that life is a journey.Paris’s connection with culture. The great respect for its history, in which the past is very present and the future very near.
Since the beginnings of Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood I have worked with stocks of discarded fabrics. Now the shelves are almost empty, what’s left are rolls of mesh (the material normally used for corsetry). The only fabrics we have commissioned are brocades by Stephen Walters, perhaps the only silk weaver left in England, and a star silk jacquard we copied from a Worth dress.
I always like to combine the new with the old. For this, we also work with second-hand pieces recycled from my personal wardrobe of old T-shirts and sweatshirts, tank tops and briefs. By playing with historical references, looking to the past, as Vivienne has always done, the end result is reminiscent of the Renaissance.
Inspiration comes randomly and guides you. In fashion I find everything I need and for that I am grateful. Dressing is both a statement and a request. Iris Murdoch said ‘The secret of happiness is to find people who fascinate you’ – this is fashion, this is Vivienne.