Friday, April 09, 2010

Once Upon a Looklet: Viv and Vigor

Personally, I'm actually quite happy that Vivienne Westwood is alive and well, and still making important contributions to fashion and culture as we know it.

And I say this as someone who has only started to appreciate everything about Dame Westwood, after years of finding her too weird for my taste. She may have been a goddess among punks, but her aesthetic grows along with her, finding as much inspiration in art and tradition as she does in the political and the personal realms.

It's that juxtaposition between tradition and transgression that really gets to me about Westwood. Who else, after all, would still have the gumption to exaggerate the female form with bustles, corseting, and platform shoes? There's just something about the way she cuts her fabric to work with the body, and the way that both move through time and space.

Here's the item that got me started on my Westwood obsession:

The way that this wrap top appears on Looklet does not do it enough justice, I believe; we're looking at layers of lightweight silk here, so you can imagine how it would drape along the actual curves of the body when it's in motion. If I were this model in real life, I would totally want to wear this with a simple knee-length skirt and no jewelry whatsoever, since the draping of the fabric is so dramatic that it eliminates the need for bling altogether.

And if I had the same body problems as, say, Christina Hendricks, I would probably consider rocking this when I'm feeling a bit casual:

The big flower on the head may be a bit debatable, but that's part of the charm here; I just wanted to summon up the whole "madcap tea party" vibe that the Westwood top evokes here. I've examined this look from every angle on Looklet, too, and I just love that it's designed to be regal, formal, and casual all at once. I chose to anchor the whole thing with a neutral skirt and some platform shoes to play up the more classic aspects of the top's design; anything else would just look tacky next to those strategically juxtaposed stripes.

The obsession doesn't stop with Looklet, either. Polyvore has a very extensive collection of Westwood designs, as well, including those from the Anglomania and Red Label lines. It's all worth a look, if only just to witness fashion history unfolding before our very eyes.

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