Categories: Fashion

Vivienne Westwood Dons Her Eponymous Spring Summer 2022 Collection For Juergen Teller In Naples

Where international travel has remained perpetually off the cards for many of us, the Vivienne Westwood Spring Summer 2022 campaign offers some welcome respite for the eyes and imagination — not to mention a fierce reminder that Westwood is our queen, and we, her loyal people.

Photographed by the inimitable Juergen Teller, be transported to the gritty alleyways and empty hotel rooms around the Lungomare di Mergellina and the Spanish Quarter of Naples, Italy. Reminiscent of long days and late nights spent exploring the streets of distant cities, the photographs evoke a point-and-shoot sense of play and curiosity captured when the afternoon turns to nightfall. Starring talent to the likes of Lindsey Wixson, Jan Baiboon, Mateen Ismail, Moustapha Syand and Westwood herself against a raw background, the shoot is set in the iconic townscape we know and love Naples for; with fishing boats, scooters and plastic chairs, transforming mere everyday accents to potent sites of display.

Vivienne’s husband Andreas Kronthaler is to thank for this choice of location. “We had freedom again! – it was the first time since the pandemic started that we could go and visit our producer & friend in Italy,” he explains in a caption on the brand’s Instagram, “Vivienne was also being honoured with the Florence Biennale lifetime achievement award, so it felt like an opportunity. I’ve always wanted to show Vivienne Naples. That’s how it all came about.” Driven by a mood inspired by the Italian musical ‘Scugnizzi’, Kronthaler says they held a street casting session with the locals who also feature throughout the campaign, imbuing this idea of place with the very people who make the city what it is.

As for the clothes, they speak fluently to the brands unwavering environmental awareness with 98% of the materials being low-impact and cruelty-free — no virgin synthetic fabrics in sight. Resisting strict categorical definition, the silhouettes of the past are subtly interspersed across the new looks: corset necklines, exaggerated wader pants, matching sailor striped ensembles and oversized pearl jewels. There are red laced boots and sweatpants, fishnets and feathers. High and low references coalesce like a perfectly balanced aperitivo at sundown.

Titled ‘Save Our Souls’ (‘SOS’), the garments look back to Westwood’s memorable Spring Summer 1998 collection ‘Tied to the Mast’ inspired by the 19th-century British couturier Redfern and named after the tale that in the event of an attack or storm, women onboard a ship were tied to the pirate ship’s mast to ensure their safety. In a contemporary take on this theme, Westwood uses this symbolic story to continue calling for change and government cooperation to achieve it. The designer shared some stream of consciousness prose upon announcing the collection in September last year, “I was tied to the mast and the clothes underwent a sea change. On a sailing ship when the tempest arose, everything had to be tied down or be washed away; the women and children were brought on deck and tied to the mast for safety of their lives as the sea engulfed them.”

All distilled against this enchanting mise-en-scène and the palpable smell of the sea, mingled with the sweet scent of perfume and perspiration, Teller elevates the narrative through his subversive lens. Calculated portraits are imbued with glamour and similarly the uncanny feeling that nothing is as it really seems. The models are hyper-aware of their photograph being taken, their gaze straight and uninterrupted. Unsurprisingly, the most compelling images are indeed the ones of Westwood, grinning and bearing a set of drawn-on skull teeth like an all-knowing cheshire cat.

Words by Chloe Borich

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