• Text Vincent Levy
  • 19th January 2015

A royal affair

From directly opposing their power through safety pin punctured imagery in her Seditionaries days to later obsessing over the minute details of their historical dress, the significance of the British monarchy in Vivienne Westwood’s work needn’t be stated any further. And yet, it was something of a shock to find Prince Charles’s face emblazoned across a t-shirt at the Vivienne Westwood MAN show today. Perhaps it was the manner of depiction. The noble black and white shot had more in common with images of Che Guevara than the famously defaced print of his mother some 40 years previous.

The reason being that Westwood wanted us to forget Charles’s inherited title, and recognise him as a revolutionary in his own right. Charles is one of several names listed on Westwood’s Climate Revolution website that are described as a heroes of the cause. In honour of this fact, today’s collection naturally contained large amounts of Prince of Wales check, and a play on Savile Rowe tailoring – the kind Charles probably counts as uniform. Within this there were a good few ensembles that felt more confrontationally politicised. Most memorably this included a head to toe smothering of bank note prints, tender red make-up echoing bruising on the model’s faces, and a masked gentleman towards the closing that offered a strange dystopian air.