Why So Serious? Vivienne Westwood Channels The Joker at London Fashion Week



The runway opening for Vivienne Westwood Spring Summer 2018 felt innocuous enough. A model in monochrome starts off the show, plain faced and toting two bags on each shoulder. Then the line between a circus act and a runway show blurs, as the models appear with increasingly acrobatic entrances, and clown make up. As each model disappeared backstage, another reappears more dramatic than before – highlighting each monochromatic, haphazardly scribbled on outfit with an even vibrant personality.

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Messily applied lipstick and a subtle touch of Cirque du Soleil are hauntingly evocative of Batman’s The Joker. Vivienne Westwood’s highly entertaining show at this season’s London Fashion Week made the audience sit up for many reasons.

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Abstract aesthetics played out across heart-stopping acrobats, lipstick replaced by crimson rose petals and liberal insults passed off as slogans. While the designer is already famous for her rebellious reputation, the dramatic show lives for a bigger cause. Models paraded fishnet stockings stuffed with trash; cans, packets and crushed plastic cascaded down their legs while they walked on crushed Evian bottles strapped to their feet. The biggest takeaway is not the theatrics of it all – rather, Westwood’s message about climate change and environmental awareness resonates across each piece.

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