Fashion is not always about creating an aesthetically pleasing outfit. Often, fashion can spearhead social movements or incorporate political messages; a fact that nobody knows quite as well as political activist Vivienne Westwood. Therefore, it was unsurprising that her Red Label S/S 2014 collection was opened by sought-after model Lily Cole performing what appeared to be a ritualistic dance whilst decked out in full tribal make-up. This ethereal start to show revealed the theme to be one that is particularly close to Westwood's heart - climate change.
Aside from her elfin beauty and trademark copper-coloured mane, the main reason that Westwood chose Lily Cole to both open and close the show is that Cole is a philanthropist herself, having recently launched a line of jewellery made entirely from rubber to raise awareness of rubber tappers in the Amazon rainforest. Alongside T-shirts emblazoned with the words 'CLIMATE' (layered under structured strapless dresses, of course), there were plenty of references to nature in the form of a floral print that recurred in oversized gowns as well as baggy trousers that were tied at the knees with silk scarves.
Despite the political undercurrent, Westwood has managed to create a collection that is entirely wearable and features many of her signature design flairs - from tighly nipped-in waists to ruching (used to create the silhouette that Westwood is so famous for) and asymmetry, the collection is one of the purest recent representations of the designer's general aesthetic. The presentation and intelligent message also re-iterate Westwood's presence as one of the most necessary designers within the fashion world, less concerned with artifice than she is with creating truly beautiful clothing accompanied by spectacle. As usual, she has succeeded.