Vivienne Westwood Red Label Fall 2011 Review

Vivienne Westwood Red Label Fall 2011 runway

Photos: Imaxtree

Looks from the Vivienne Westwood Red Label Fall 2011 collection

SHOW: Vivienne Westwood Red Label (See the full runway collection)

THEME: London life (by way of Portobello Road) with a nod to Alice Through the Looking Glass

HAIR: Malcolm Edwards for L'Oréal Professionnel

MAKEUP: Alex Box for M.A.C.

NAILS: Sophy Robson for Leighton Denny

ACCESSORIES: Mad Hatter toppers from Prudence Millinery, Wolford tights, bow-trimmed flats, black boots, suspenders, and Westwood eyewear and jewelry

FRONT ROW: Boris Becker, Boy George, Pete Burns, Paloma Faith, Dr. Who's Matt Smith, Jaime Winstone

OVERALL TAKEAWAY: A trip down memory lane with a demented royal twist

The grand dame of London fashion, Westwood once again flexed her anarchist muscles and taste for irony by staging her Fall 2011 show in the very imperial Royal Courts of Justice, where Boy George's latex-clad dominatrix pal and a host of body-pierced devotees had the fun task of going through the metal detector.

Under the watchful eye of history's greatest British legal minds—whose portraits lined the oak-paneled walls—came a parade of familiar Westwood signatures: stripes, plaids, asymmetrical cuts, and, of course, a general misfit attitude.

Much of that is owed to the show's makeup, hair and accessories. Catwalker Charlotte Free's pink locks may have kicked off the proceedings but were relatively tame given the beyond–bed head dos worn by fellow models like Daisy Lowe. 

Those not donning oversize bowlers and colorful scarecrow-style headgear sported twisted and teased hair as well as hairpieces constructed into crowns—a riff on Lewis Carroll's Red Queen. The smeared and vibrant makeup looks ranged from demented clown to playing-with-mommy's-lipstick to full-on war paint, with one beauty boasting a face completely coated in gold.

In the show notes, Westwood remarked that her design studio head Murray Blewett drew inspiration from the multi-class market vendors and residents of his Portobello Road neighborhood. It must be quite the colorful crowd, given the feathery, tropical-hued capes, blue and orange tartans, and scribble-printed jumpers, one of which we're sure read "Falafel" on the back.

The label clearly isn't trying to reinvent the wheel or push forward. Blewett knows what works with the Westwood crowd, which means revisiting archival looks like slouchy, off-the-shoulder sweater dresses, pinstripes, the aforementioned tartan, and chunky stripes, this time done in navy, aqua and garnet.

More accessible were a moss green peacoat, knit pieces in bold mustard and peacock blue (Westwood is a fierce proponent of using English wool), and a series of asymmetrical dresses with a swoop of fabric over one shoulder.

Now only one question remains: What will fan Helena Bonham Carter wear first?