“This collection is my dream. I couldn’t explain it to Vivienne, I didn’t know it, I just had to do it. I walked out the house and thought I was in Paris — something about the sky made me realize how much I wanted to be there.” That’s from Andreas Kronthaler, the Austrian Creative Director and design partner to Vivienne Westwood, who (under Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood) has just shown his Spring/Summer 2023 collection at Paris Fashion Week — and wasn’t it just fascinating.
Largely made using deadstock mesh and a commissioned silk jacquard, much of the collection was styled with some of Kronthaler’s own wardrobe — including old T-shirts, sweaters, and even underwear — to zone in on the brand’s use of sustainable materials. However, whereas brands that typically claim to be sustainable often fall within the realm of minimalism, Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood couldn’t have been more maximalist if it tried.
Presenting a co-ed show on a simple stage, Kronthaler put the focus on the clothing as models simply did their job. Nothing performative, just walk, stand, turn, walk. Menswear and womenswear was stripped of its gender roles, seeing anyone on stage wearing anything — for example, many of the models were wearing high-heeled platform takes on the ’60s go-go boot in brown crocodile-finished leather.
Buttock-bearing chaps, revealing tights worn underneath crocheted underwear, harnesses, ripped T-shirt necks, corsets and more provided a camp flair, a factor only heightened by one notable look: a sort of silky satin dress, voluminous in its grandeur and soft in color, looking as if the model had wrapped themselves in silk bedsheets. It was masterfully done, as was a LBD that had an iceberg of white mesh growing from its front, and Bella Hadid‘s structural white mini-dress-coat ensemble that was ready for a fight, per the boxing glove styling.
But throughout was a strong connection to Westwood-isms, not technically punk nor too hard-edged, but rather a softer side of her work. Renaissance themes were apparent, as corsets became full dress tops, baroque florals blossomed on cropped jackets, and double-breasted blazers saw the sleeves ruched as if they were banded, as you would perhaps do if you were riding a horse.
Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood SS23 understood the memo for Paris Fashion Week, and that was to deliver look after look of creativity. Check it out in the gallery above and stay tuned to Hypebeast for more PFW SS23 content.
In case you missed it, check out this dress that was made using spray-on fabric, and then worn by Bella Hadid.