Sensuality and Sustainability Collide in Vivienne Westwood’s New Collection

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Vivienne Westwood Autumn/Winter 2021
Vivienne Westwood Autumn/Winter 2021Photography by Alice Dellal, Styling by Ellie Grace Cumming

The house’s Autumn/Winter 2021 offering looks to François Boucher’s erotically-charged 1743 painting, Daphnis and Chloe

Unveiled on Friday, Vivienne Westwood’s Autumn/Winter 2021 collection takes inspiration from the work of French artist François Boucher, who worked in the Rococo style – specifically his 1743 painting, Daphnis and Chloe. A contrast to the multitude of pastoral idylls imagined by the artist during the mid-1730s – which typically depicted elegantly dressed shepherds and shepherdesses engaging in modest courting rituals – Daphnis and Chloe is unusual for its open eroticism: the painting depicts a semi-nude couple wrapped up in a sensual embrace. Melding historicism with human sexuality, the painting first appeared in one of Westwood’s collections back in 1990, when it was famously printed on one of the designer’s seminal, and appropriately sexy, corsets.

31 years later, it returns as the focal point for Autumn/Winter 2021, inspiring the collection’s pleasing, painterly colours and fabrics. Revealed via a series of lavish images photographed by Alice Dellal and styled by AnOther’s fashion director (menswear), Ellie Grace Cumming, the unisex offering reimagines an array of Westwood classics – from tartans and towering heels, to subverted traditional English tailoring and rebellious silhouettes that pay homage to the label’s archive.

Crafted “from materials that have a reduced impact on our environment” – including recycled denim, ‘forest positive’ viscose, organic silks and eco printing systems – the collection also exemplifies Westwoods ongoing commitment to sustainability. “We aim to make clothes which last,” said the label in a statement.