Leave it to the Brits to make the New York Fashion Week look positively boring and old hat.
Kicking off London's Spring 2013 Fashion Week, the grandmother of punk fashion Vivienne Westwood, 71, walked her runway dressed like a clown/pirate with bright orange hair, a black painted moustache and monocle. She also wore men’s boxers, sheer stocking, platform boots and a T-shirt supporting one of her biggest causes, fighting climate change.
Later that day, Mad Hatter Philip Treacy put Westwood’s pal Lady Gaga on his chapeau runway and dressed his black models in Michael Jackson’s authentic costumes which will be auctioned off in December.
After the New York launch of her new fragrance, Fame, Lady Gaga flew her freshly tattooed head to London to walk the runway of the internationally renowned millinner.
This is the hat designer's first major runway presentation in 12 years. Although he hasn't publicly shown, his couture hats are worn by wealthy socialites, fashionistas and celebrities, such as Kate Middleton and Gaga herself, who famously wore his telephone hat in her Telephone music video.
Treacy's hat fans inculding Kim Cattrall, Grace Jones, Dita von Teese, Anna Dello Russo and Nick Cave populated the front row, watching the all black models wearing some of Jackson's most famous outfits, reportedly on loan from one of the King of Pop's costume designers.
Gaga started the show, appearing in a flowy pink dress and towering shoes, annointing Treacy "the greatest milliner of all time." Among the black models was Alek Wek, who wore a hat shaped like a giant golden Jackson glove.
Another model wore Jackson’s famous Thriller jacket with a giant smiley face squiggly thing called a "fascinator" floating her head. Other Treacy headgear included a giant jewel-encrusted face mask and a full-body light tube hat. Batteries not included, we presume.
At Westwood's early show, the orange-haired diva received loud applause for her classic '50s and early '60s ensembles that looked like a Mad Men cartoon. Many of the models sported distinctive makeup that gave their faces green, pink or lavender glows.
The colorful faces contrasted with conservative outfits that look as if they had been stolen from former first ladies Mamie Eisenhower or Jackie Kennedy’s closets.
Was the show a success from a sales pont of view? Oh posh! Who cares! Certainly not Westwood, who insists she is passionate about fashion only as far as it allows her to express her feelings about particular issues and causes.
As for giving advice to emerging designers, she told the Wall Street Journal: “I always did what I liked and, therefore, I’ve always been the judge of it. What my advice to young designers is, you have to anchor it in culture. You have to go to art galleries. When you start off you’ve got something, but you run out of ideas if you don’t immediately go out places."
Excellent advice. And it's similar to the late Vogue editor extraordinaire Diana Vreeland's admonition: "The eye needs to travel."