Next month's London Fashion Week will be missing one of the city's most iconic designers. Vivienne Westwood will be nowhere to be found on the week's runways for the first time in years. Instead, buyers will have to settle for private one-on-one showings. The public won't get a first glimpse at the line until January.
In fact, Westwood is completely overhauling her entire company's branding.
“Reduce our company in size," said Westwood in a poem-like statement on the company's blog. "And reduce it to its essentials. Selling only what we love. Our whole structure will be directed by quality. Buy less, choose well, make it last. Together Andreas and I head the design teams for all lines."
The Vivienne Westwood Red (for women) and Man labels have now been combined under the unified name of simply "Vivienne Westwood," and Westwood will present both mens and womenswear at a combined show during London Fashion Week: Men's in January.
That's not just a loss for the main London Fashion week, but also for Milan's men week as well. Westwood Man was previously shown in Italy.
Those weeks' losses are London Fashion Week: Men's gain. Started in only 2012, the week is slowly, but stubbornly growing (perhaps more so than New York's own experiment with a separate men's week). The addition of both gender selections of Westwood's offerings to its lineup should help bolster its reputation.
The shift also means that the public will get its first look at the women's clothing much closer to when they'll actually be available in stores. The shakeup's follow two key trends in the industry: the combination of both men's and women's shows, and moving a runway presentation closer to the time when consumers can actually buy the duds on display. Westwood's move mirrors that of another iconic London brand, Burberry. That brand has also combined both men's and women's (though during London women's week), and will offer its clothes for sale almost the same moment they hit the runway.
Meanwhile, the unisex Vivienne Westwood Gold label has already been re-dubbed "Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood," to reflect Westwood's husband Kronthaler's role in the design of that label. The Kronthaler line will continue to be shown in Paris during ready-to-wear week.