STYLE

Westwood conjures spirit of arctic explorers in next winter's menswear collection

01/15/2012 07:19 EST | Updated 03/16/2012 05:12 EDT
MILAN - Vivienne Westwood is not afraid to mix it up with the elements.

For her 2013 menswear winter collection, models walked the runway as if they had just returned from a harrowing trip to one of the Earth's poles. They were covered in icicles, shaggy beards and moustaches (some obviously faux), and in some cases overgrown hair.

Westwood said in a note that she took inspiration from arctic explorers in a bid to raise awareness about global warming.

"What I am trying to do is talk to people to help promote the fact that only public opinion can change policy," Westwood said backstage.

In her notes, she urged leaders to "admit the fact of climate change" and make policies to stop it.

The clothes conjure adventure — as one would expect from Westwood, well known for her eclectic looks — even if in reality few would stand the test of arctic temperatures. But then, it's awareness she was after, not verisimilitude.

One model had a pirate quality, dressed in belted roomy black trousers and a black sweater with strategic holes in the sides suggesting hardship, but oozing style.

Amid the social message, Westwood managed to make her style points as well. She dressed her hardy men in sherling coats over thick knit high-neck sweaters with and comfortable trousers. Scarves were not necessarily for the neck, but tied around the waist provided an extra layer against the cold.

Once safe in civilization, the returning explorers could change into something more indoorsy, say a tartan plaid suit paired with identical shirt and tie. Westwood generously mixed patterns, marrying a plaid brown jacket with an orange plaid shirt topping striped pants. And their were tailored jackets in contrasting panels, and even pants each leg a different plaid.

And to celebrate the journey, what better than a tuxedo. Like others showing in Milan this week, Westwood favoured double breasted jackets, but she stuck with the classic bow tie for tuxedos where others went with the more casual turtleneck.

And all of it would fit nicely in her duffle bags — easy to pack for the next adventure.

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