Friday 18th September

| BY Claudia Croft

Vivienne Westwood: Ready-to-Wear SS21

Second waves are very on-trend right now, whether its viruses or cultural movements. Vivienne Westwood knows all about that. She heralded a second wave of punk with her SS21 collection, unveiled with a film at the socially distanced, semi-digital London Fashion Week.

The economic meltdown and social unrest that gave birth to punk in the 1970s looms even larger in 2020 – now you can add racial justice and climate emergency into the mix, too. We need punk – a movement wedded to radical values, trashing convention and challenging orthodoxies – more than ever.

Step up Dame Viv – at 79, age has not mellowed her, but only made her more determined to have her say. Westwood filmed her models at one of the many protests to take place this summer. They wore “True Punk” face masks, (never mind wearing your heart on your sleeve. This is 2020. Wear it on your face) with vivid checked tailoring inspired by Savile Row.

Boys wore twinsets and pearls, girls wore tailoring – gendered clothing is another outdated concept that Westwood wishes to do away with. The prints were provided by the artist Anthony Newton, who copes with schizophrenia and Westwood’s fellow punk icon Chrissie Hynde, who lent her artwork to the designer in return for a donation to her favourite animal charity (Ahimsa Milk). The film, modelled by a cool collective which includes Ten favourite Kai-Isaiah Jamal, is a joyful celebration of renegade spirit.

Along the way, Westwood urges us to buy less, swap clothes, wear evening clothes to the office and generally screw convention. There’s a better way – let Westwood show it to you. She was right in the 1970s and she’s right in 2020. The mother of punk has spoken.

Photographs by Alice Dellal.