Vivienne Westwood’s widower and collaborator, Andreas Kronthaler, says the new Vivienne Westwood collection shown during Paris Fashion Week was a tribute to her legacy.
Andreas Kronthaler, widower and long-time collaborator of Vivienne Westwood, spoke about his grief over the late designer backstage at the label’s recent show at Paris Fashion Week, which was done as a tribute to Westwood’s iconic legacy in fashion.
“It comes in waves. This work has been kind of helpful, yes. But sometimes you pick something up, and then it hits you, but this is my personal tribute to her.”
Westwood passed away in December of 2022, and when she was “physically able to” she assisted on the collection that was recently shown. Kronthaler himself has been designing on Westwood’s collections for more than 5 years now, but the pair met back in 1989. The collection was partially meant to emphasize the duality of Westwood when it came to her as a designer, and individual.
“Vivienne was drawn to nature, and cared about it, as we know, but she was also a city girl.”
Westwood and Kronthaler met at the Vienna School of Applied Arts when Westwood was a visiting professor. The two kept their relationship a secret for a while, with Kronthaler explaining how they would often give each other longing glances as steal kisses in the alleyways after class.
At the time, Kronthaler created a Renaissance-inspired collection, which led to Westwood inviting him to develop them in London; by 1993, the two were married.
Westwood was known as one of the first designers to encourage her customers to buy less of her own collections, despite being a brand that was reliant on sales at the time. Rolling with this mentality, Kronthaler recalled creating the collection using deadstock fabric and reusing 18th century hangings and old-bedding, likely patchworked together.
“Westwood’s lifelong crusade against waste, the idea of ‘buy less, choose well’ also served as an act of catharsis for [me]. I collect and hang on to things but this time I just [needed] to get rid of it, and so, half a meter of silk became a sleeve here, or a pair of knickers there.”
Throughout the recent Westwood show, models wore makeup inspired by the late designer, such as her trademark red eyeliner. Additionally, Westwood was known for using her designs as a way to reject social, gender, and political norms, so that level of controversy had to exist within this recent show as well.
One of the designs emphasized a “masturbation skirt,” which gathered with a drawstring waist for easy removal. To be customer-friendly, the design is also iron and machine wash safe. “She was extremely practical like that,” Kronthaler said of Westwood.
Kronthaler also went on to dedicate the show to Tintwistle after the Derbyshire village where Westwood grew up and learned to sew; it’s also where Westwood was buried.
“Out of this, I became involved in her again,” Kronthaler stated.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.