Westwood show highlights Scotland, not fashion

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

LONDON (AP) — Vivienne Westwood may be staging a catwalk show, but Scotland — not clothes — is foremost on the designer's mind.

Never one to shy away from making a political statement, the eccentric 73-year-old grand dame of British fashion used her London Fashion Week runway Sunday to campaign for Scottish independence.

Scots are voting on whether to break away from the United Kingdom in a historic referendum on Thursday.

Westwood proudly wore a "Yes" badge, and sent her models down the catwalk sporting the same badge prominently on their lapels or hats.

"I am so excited. Fingers crossed they will win. Because, if they do, it could be the turning point towards a better world. They could lead by example," read a statement that was placed on every guest's seat.

She had stronger words backstage, where she spoke passionately about social injustices and the decline of democracy in England. She denounced those who support staying in the U.K. as "frightened and stupid."

"I hate England. I like Scotland because somehow I think they are better than we are. They are more democratic," she told reporters.

What about the fashion?

Fans and fashionistas know that the Red Label show almost never strays from Westwood's signature femme fatale style, whatever the latest trends are. Sunday's collection was as saucy as ever: There were bustiers, beautifully-draped blouses and dresses, micro shorts, and sculpted evening gowns in summery floral prints.

Over the past few years, clothes have played second fiddle for Westwood, who is more keen to devote her attention to causes from climate change to campaigning in support of WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange.

Westwood said she plans to scale down her production and focus on quality over quantity, although she has no plans to exit the fashion world — if only to continue to use it as a platform for activism.

"It gives me an opportunity to try to say things," she said. "People do listen because they like to hear people who stick their heads out to say a few things."