09/28/2013 03:47 EDT | Updated 11/28/2013 05:12 EST

Vivienne Westwood goes medieval in Paris fashion show

PARIS - Medieval pilgrims that Vivienne Westwood imagined during a visit to Canterbury Cathedral were the unlikely muses for the British designer's spring-summer 2014 collection in Paris.

Muddy faces, colored earth-splashed knees, hanging girdles and earthy brown canvas cotton and yarn upon yarn of glamorous flowing rags provided the peasant-inspired wardrobe.

These features — sometimes minimalist, sometimes festive — combined with colorful page's stripes, medieval short tabard coats and Juliette sleeves to produce a veritable display from yesteryear.

There was even a saintly halo hat.

But collections from eccentric Westwood elude definition — and indeed to define her would be to limit her art.

So, breaking out of the medieval shackles the designer also included a Latin colored headdress, a black South American gown, a gaucho look in yellow ochre and an ode to punk in bright blue — plus her famed peaked shoulders for good measure.

Guests gasped when one disco look appeared with strips of reflective metallic and sheer parts which revealed the model's body.

Former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson was looking on from the front row. She is a campaigner against animal cruelty — and sees eye to eye with activist Westwood on this point.

Bags in the show, for example, were made in Kenya in a project organized by the U.N.-supported "Ethical Fashion Initiative" and the tartan looks were from Burkina Faso, the world's fourth poorest country, according to the initiative.

But Westwood flits between the serious and the gay.

After describing the origins of the fabrics, the designer chuckled that she'd created a style she referred to as "sexy nun."


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