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Vivienne Westwood AW21
Vivienne Westwood AW21Courtesy of Vivienne Westwood

Caroline Polachek was the star of Vivienne Westwood’s AW21 fever dream

Andreas Kronthaler drew inspiration from 1964 musical My Fair Lady for his raucous new-season show

Titled Mayfair Lady, Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood’s AW21 presentation, an ode to the 1964 classic My Fair Lady, took many unexpected turns. 

There was Andreas Kronthaler, Westwood’s longtime love and the brand’s creative director sing-shouting “On The Street Where You Live” through the back alleys of Central London. There were the black and white dance breakdowns courtesy of New York choreographer, Malik Sharpe. And then there was the entrance of Caroline Polachek, who transformed the brand’s Mayfair boutique into a poetry slam with her spoken word rendition of the musical’s lead number “I Could’ve Danced All Night”.

Perhaps the least surprising moment of all was when Westwood took to the boutique window to deliver an impassioned recital of “Without You” like some kind of Shakespearean siren gone rogue. Shot by Kronthaler on his iPhone over lockdown, the presentation was erratic, homespun, and spontaneous – sentiments which were mirrored within the haphazard construction of the collection, which had been put together from old, upcycled scraps of fabric. 

We were given tulle, lamé and argyle knites, which had been wrapped, tied and draped around each other. Cinched and sculpted bodice work was layered over yards of rayon and thick, woollen tights. Befitting any am-dram rendition of My Fair Lady, this season Westwood took a dive deep into its dressing-up box and emerged with whatever had stuck.

Watch the film below.