Ever the anarchist, Westwood talks us through romantic impressions and horrific realities of India
“I always hijack the shows to talk politics,” Vivienne Westwood explained backstage. This season she presented something rather feminine, soft and very beautiful – but of course, there was a political undercurrent.
Taking reference from Indian Rajas, the collection was infused with intricate silk prints and white fabrics that looked as though they had become discoloured in the sun. Garments were adorned with subtle jewels or beading and covered with rich red, orange and purple tones.
After the show, as we caught up with Westwood backstage, she began to voice her political concerns surrounding the corruption in India. Suggesting that our romantic impressions can in fact reveal hidden truths…
“I looked at the political situation in India, which I hadn’t really looked at properly before. Then I read Broken Republic, which was written by this amazing woman called Arundhati Roy – If you want to know anything about India or about the rest of the world, then she knows everything. She spent time with these Maoist’s in the forest and they’re just kids who have had their knees broken, their friends have been raped and beheaded, and they have then gone into the forest, you know. It’s a really good book and it’s the specific people she talks about as well as the overall view which is really shocking - she’s fantastic.
Anyway, so I don’t really know what India is, except that they are such beautiful people. When I was a teacher, I taught little Indian kids and I loved them, they are always so lively. There is this grace that comes with wearing a sari and it’s just so lovely - all these things about India are true. I would love to go and see the temple dancing in India, I’ve never seen that - it must be one of the high points of existence for all I know, but I also know there is shocking poverty and maybe that’s one of the reasons I have never been, you know, to be confronted by that.”