Vivienne Westwood's Righteous Fire of Rebellion Rages On

Punk. Politics. Paint. Picket signs. Couture. These things could only coexist in one place—a Vivienne Westwood show.

Westwood made waves in the news last week when she drove a tank (yes, an actual tank) in front of English Prime Minister David Cameron’s house and staged a fake “chemical attack” to protest fracking. Westwood’s activist spirit picked up steam again on Sunday in London, as models for the designer’s SS16 collection took to the streets to protest political corruption.


From a distance, the show (aptly titled “Politicians R Criminals”) seemed reminiscent of Chanel’s “feminist protest” last fall. But with all the boxy pantsuits, oversized glasses, and signs that read things like “Free Freedom” and “Boys should get pregnant too!” it was clear that Karl Lagerfeld had used the idea of political protest as conceptual inspiration rather than as a vehicle for actual change.

“Politicians R Criminals,” on the other hand, was the product of Westwood’s authentic and fervent desire to make a difference in the world. The picket signs were also a bit more hard-hitting than those at Chanel. Walking down the street to the venue, models hooted and hollered, wielding signs that read “Austerity is a Crime,” “Fracking is a Crime” and “Climate Revolution.”


Westwood—who is one of the founders of Climate Revolution, and who, along with her son Joe Corré, helps fund the Talk Fracking organization—sees every reason to use her status as a means of bettering the world. “I have a voice because I’m a well-known fashion designer,” Westwood said, “and this gives me the opportunity to open my mouth.”

Images via Getty.

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