Oct 5, 2015
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Westwood calls to 'Save Venice' at Paris fashion show

Oct 5, 2015

Paris, Oct 4, 2015 (AFP) - "Save Venice" was the theme of Vivienne Westwood's latest Paris fashion show as the famed designer and eco-activist called for action on climate change.

The grand dame of British fashion brought a taste of Venetian carnival to the catwalk on the fifth day of Paris fashion shows on Saturday.

Vivienne Westwood SS16 Paris Fashion Week - © PixelFormula

Masked harlequins and macabre jesters, distorted faces and neon makeup -- Westwood's spring-summer 2016 collection paid homage to Venice's famed carnival, and married it with flashes of her renowned punk ethic.

The Gold Label collection, presented in a show called "Mirror the World", focused on the need to restore the lost glory of Venice.

"The problem there is one of repair, but also one of climate change," said Westwood in a video on her blog ahead of the show.

She praised the Renaissance period of the city as "the period of the greatest flourishing of art that the West has ever known. Venice was an emporium of culture."

Westwood is known as perhaps the most political of fashion's top tier designers, and she used the build-up to Saturday's show to call on people to join a march against climate change and economic austerity in London on November 29.

"It will be massive," she said in the video. "Bring your children. The more people, the better the chance to change the world."

Her show in London last month had focused on opposing austerity measures.

- 'A new spring' -

The Paris show itself focused on her love of the Venice carnival -- "everyone in disguise in St Mark's Square or disappearing around corners in those narrow streets," she said.

"The mask hides a time of altered states, where the poor become rich and vice versa or the ugly become attractive.

Vivienne Westwood SS16 Paris Fashion Week - © PixelFormula

"It dates from a primitive time when people indulged in excess so that their sins could be forgiven before a new spring."

Among the other designers on display on Saturday, Elie Saab brought the floral displays, lacy elegance for which she is known, with reality star and US model Kendall Jenner leading the parade.

There was also a rare nod to streetwear from the Lebanese designer -- a satin bomber jacket in dramatic coloured stripes; a flowery blouse with a jacket and trouser ensemble.

Military uniforms inspired the show by artistic director David Koma, presenting his latest collection for fashion house Mugler.

The catwalk was transformed into a landing strip and the women wore black, white, marine and khaki, with the focus on epaulettes, belts, pockets and leather.

Meanwhile, Guillaume Henry's second show for Nina Ricci used some interesting fabrics including organza, a sheer and silky fabric, as well as varnished ostrich leather and feathers.

The women were sensual night owls in tights and sandals, transparent tops with extra-long sleeves, worn with loose pants or a miniskirt. Among the notable creations were apron dresses available in cow hide, glossy black, or slate green.

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