Words: Colin Chapman
Throwing her tricornered hat into the melee of change regarding when and where fashion shows happen and the whole notion of gendered fashion weeks, Vivienne Westwood has announced that from January 2017, the brand will show their men’s and women’s collection under one label at London Fashion Week: Men’s.
The organisers of the capital’s bi-annual week-long menswear showcase will no doubt be encouraged by the news, in the wake of Burberry announcing that they would no longer show during the capital’s menswear week but would instead show their men’s and women’s collections together at the more established London Fashion Week (i.e. womenswear week).
In one regard Westwood is following the industry trend by merging the womenswear line, formally known as the Red Label, and the menswear line, formally known as the MAN Label and shown up to now in Milan, into one entity to exist as the brand’s mainline women’s and men’s offering under one label: Vivienne Westwood. However, by choosing to of London Collections: Men as the vehicle for presenting their mainline collection Westwood has more in common with such mavericks as London knitwear supremos Sibling, who already showed their men’s and women’s lines side by side at June’s LC:M.
Only a month ago, New York Fashion Week: Men’s the year-old equivalent to London’s men’s event, didn’t fare so well, presenting a largely lackluster affair with major brands such as Calvin Klein not presenting at all and homegrown talent such as Public School choosing to buck the schedule completely having shown at a time of year to suit them.
The news that Westwood is embracing London’s menswear week is a typically bold move by the brand, which has already survived decades of machination and change in an industry currently in the throes of reacting to the impact of the internet on demand, distribution and presentation.
Portrait of Vivienne Westwood and Andreas Kronthaler by Meinke Klein @unit.