Westwood declares husband 'world's greatest fashion designer'

5th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

Vivienne Westwood declared her husband Andreas Kronthaler "the world's greatest designer" as he emerged from her flamboyant shadow Saturday with his first solo Paris show.

The Austrian-born designer -- who says he suspects he is the basis for comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's 2009 fashion satire "Bruno" -- lived up to his larger-than-life reputation with a spectacular explosion of convention-defying decadence.

As guests cheered his chutzpah, Westwood confessed to reporters that Kronthaler -- who is 25 years her junior -- had long been the power behind the throne.

"Over the years he has taken over the experimental stuff and I have had to follow. He calls me his muse. I think it was time the public understood the truth of this," said the 74-year-old queen of the punk fashion revolution.

"I think he is the greatest designer in the world. He wouldn't like me to say that because he is always frightened. I have learnt so much from him," she added.

Kronthaler, who has worked closely with Westwood for years both as a model, stylist and muse, sent a dizzying array of disparate looks down the runway in the show billed as "Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood".

All were in one way or another gender bending, with priestly girls, men in gold lame dresses and snake-skin effect boots, and women in oversized Alpine jackets from his native Tyrol.

Some of his models looked like senators emerging from a Roman bathhouse in blood-red togas while others wore long trailing Tibetan monk's hats, but all -- male and female -- wore platform shoes and boots.

Kronthaler's solo debut came on the same day that former supermodel Jerry Hall married the octogenarian media mogul Rupert Murdoch in London wearing a comparatively restrained light blue Westwood dress.

And Westwood admitted that when she first met Kronthaler "he was too big, he needed pulling down with an anchor." He is a perfectionist, she said, "Every stitch is perfect, it has to be perfect for him."

But Westwood insisted he was also a great innovator.

- 'Men should wear dresses' -

"Nobody has done what he has done and put a toga on top of pants," she said.

She said they would continue to design her main collections together as a couple, but that they were going to reduce their line, because it was "better for the environment... We have got too big already."

Westwood revealed she was really taken by Kronthaler's togas and male dresses, which she urged more men to wear. "Unisex is good for the environment." Couples would not "have to buy so many clothes", she insisted, if they only shared their wardrobes.

For all the affront of the show's title, "Sexercise", beyond the carnal colours it seemed more inspired by flowing religious robes than it was by lust.

Certainly Kronthaler and Westwood -- who fell madly in love when he was 22 and she 47 -- could not have been more demure in the video they posted on Twitter to introduce the show.

With Westwood sitting on his knee in the library of their Queen Anne home in London, she very graciously gave him all the creative credit. "You did it all," she said.

Elsewhere Paris fashion week hit its stride with the 1980s influence on the latest trends becoming more pronounced.

Japanese designers were the talk of the town, with five staging highly acclaimed shows within 48 hours led by Junya Watanabe, Yohji Yamamoto and Undercover's Jun Takahashi.


© 2016 AFP

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