English/Nat Westwood defects to US for Millennium collection

STORY: Fashion week
DATE: September 1999

‘To tell the truth Red Label is designed for the girl I was and am’. So runs the edict of eccentric designer VIVIENNE WESTWOOD who joined fashion compatriat Alexander MacQueen last week by decamping to New York to show her Red Label 2000 collection.

Westwood, whose shows have included Naomi Campbell toppling off high platform shoes, teenage girls barely out of school uniform, and bringing central London to a standstill with a double-decker bus full of models with giant multi-coloured wigs, is normally one of the flamboyant highlights of London Fashion Week. But it was New York who enjoyed the designer’s quintessentially British charms last week.

The designer’s spirited collection – inspired she says by a woman who ‘can forget her appearance, kick off her shoes and dance on the disco/cafe table – combined her usual sex-kitten/whore look. Models sported knee high socks (a Westwood favourite) with high-heel t-bar shoes and skin tight dresses. Waist and bust are accentuated in her collection 2000; the designer, who re-invented the modern corset, presented a revolutionary new half-corset finishing mid bust.

In stark contrast, the master of minimalism CALVIN KLEIN presented his usual collection of understated glamour. Whilst designers have been heralding the return of the jacket, Klein centres his collection around the shirt – defining the jacket, dress and coat. The Klein skirt is tapered – and finishes just below the knee.

It was a collection of Grace Kelly subtlety. Colours were muted- grey, light blue – and, of course, white. Layering provides another key look and evening dresses feature an innovative new shape – a fish-tail like train ensuring a grand entrance – or exit – at any event.

German model HEIDI KLUM provided some supermodel clout to RANDOLPH DUKE’S show. The designer presented a slinky sexy collection – emphasising curves, waists and hips. Designer Duke says the season continues the industry’s belief that ‘anything goes’. ‘It’s all about individual expressions’ Duke says. Silk shark skin foul weather gear shimmies up to sexy cashmere. Deck jackets, shorts , capris , long and short dresses tanks and crops jumpers onfirm the free-spirited anture of his collection.

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