Vivienne Westwood Takes to the London Streets For Fall 2021 Campaign
It’s an endless and predictable cycle, the top fashion houses borrow inspiration from the “street,” luxe it up, and then send high-priced models down the runway in high-priced clothes that no one on the street can actually access. Right?
But however haute Vivienne Westwood‘s incredible career has at times taken her, she is still the original punk goddess provocateur, the one who in 1977 dressed up the kids to sartorially resemble the socio-political chaos that was swirling around them at the time, and sent shockwaves through the “system” that was responsible for all of said chaos. And for the Fall 2021 collection campaign, she and partner/husband Andreas Kronthaler have again found a way to challenge the status quo, by picking people off the street to don their fashions in whatever manner happened to feel right to them.
Specifically, they headed to the still genuinely authentic Harlesden (east of Wembley, west of Hampstead), a multi-culti neighborhood in the Borough of Brent, North West London, with lots of Caribbean and Lebanese take away, and a high street of heritage Victorian and Edwardian architecture. The casting and shoot were managed by photographer Wayne Hanson, who happens to still use an old format Hasselblad.
“I’m a documentary photographer and I’m interested in people,” he explains. “I really enjoy getting to know them, hearing their stories and no surprise, taking their portrait. And the creative team at VW put their trust in me to shoot my way.”
The resulting images feel incredibly natural, and the clothes feel more alive than they do in more formalized campaigns or when they’re floating down a runway. For his part, Kronthaler hints that this may be the start of a longer creative relationship between Vivienne Westwood and the previously undiscovered but uniquely talented lensman.
“It was very simple how these pictures came together,” he recalls. “My best friend Alex, who also works with us, came across Wayne’s work on Instagram and showed me his pictures – and I thought they were outstanding. He shoots on this very classic camera, it’s something you don’t see very much anymore – the quality of the images mirror that. They have another dimension.”
And fashion, let’s be honest, was very much in need of a new dimension.