LONDON — One-of-a-kind designer Vivienne Westwood Sunday night presented a gorgeous collection of autumn and winter outfits at London Fashion Week, then went backstage and told reporters she hopes people stop buying her clothes.
"Stop all this consumerism," said Westwood, the former high priestess of punk who has increasingly used her catwalk shows to spotlight her concern about climate change.
"I just tell people, stop buying clothes. Why not protect this gift of life while we have it? I don't take the attitude that destruction is inevitable. Some of us would like to stop that and help people survive," she said.
Her show capped a gala day at London Fashion Week, with shows by Matthew Williamson, Jasper Conran and other top designers.
Long one of Britain's most celebrated designers, Westwood said she wants to try other challenges, including a television series on art and science after she shows her Gold Label collection in Paris next month.
She was in an enviable position: Her new collection had brought the house down, supermodel Kate Moss – in a black top, tight jeans and black leather cap – was waiting to congratulate her, and the audience of adoring fans included singer Janet Jackson and model Naomi Campbell.
The eclectic Red Label collection, which Westwood called romantic, began with models wearing tee shirts designed to call attention to the crisis in Haiti, in hopes of raising money for Campbell's effort to help mothers and babies displaced by the earthquake there.
Then it moved quickly into Westwood's special realm, a mixture of odd pairings that combined some traditional elements with looks that were new and different. One outfit mixed brightly colored plaid trousers with a polka dot blouse in orange and red – somehow, it worked.
There were mustard-colored tops and tuxedo-style jackets with pink details, Alice in Wonderland hats, and one model came out wearing an apron, sharpening a knife somewhat menacingly as she walked. Some of the most effective pieces were the simpler ones, including an elegant black cocktail dress that closed the show.
"The great thing about Vivienne is that you can wear her clothes if you're 16 or 60," said Jo Wood, a supermodel in an earlier era who recently returned to the catwalk to model for Westwood. "She's fantastic."
Designer Matthew Williamson showed an exuberant display of slinky evening wear in vibrant colors.
With a variety of prints, fur, slim-cut leather pants and even low-rise harem pants, Williamson wowed a star-studded audience with his Autumn/Winter 2010 collection.
"Absolutely fantastic," said '60s supermodel Twiggy, whose stellar career has been marked by longevity. "I want about ten things. I want the harem pants in every color, they were amazing, and also those evening dresses, I probably couldn't wear them, but I think we'll be seeing a lot of those on the red carpet."
Twiggy said Williamson's clothes were extremely wearable.
"I love Matthew to death, I think he's a genius," she said. "They're for all age groups. The young look great in them. I'm certainly not young, and I love wearing them."
Actress Sienna Miller was also proud to pronounce herself a "FOM" – Friend of Matthew – and praised his outfits from her front row perch. So did model Yasmin Le Bon.
"He's taken the brand to a whole new level," said Miller, who is showing her Twenty8Twelve collection, designed with her sister Savannah Miller, later Sunday night.
The collection showed Williamson's easy approach, with gray and black checked wool overcoats set off by fur sleeves or collars in the same colors. Underneath the coats, models wore sexy off-the-shoulder dresses or dresses cut extremely low in the back.
Candy-colored silk crepe dresses for winter? Why not, asked designer Jasper Conran.
Conran kicked off his show with ballooning capes and dresses in thick wool and flannel worn over bodysuits.
His dramatic spherical coats and bodices were inspired by British sculptors Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, while details like space-age mirrored sequins and geometric cutouts were a modern take on the playful shapes and styles of the 60s.
Dark sheer tulle dresses were adorned with PVC panels, geometric sequins and huge polished silver cuffs.
Conran's black and grays contrasted with imposing cardinal red, a bold orange and peacock blue.
Even with softer styles, the designer focused on big, voluptuous silhouettes – like a nude textured organza dress with a billowing back resembling insect wings. "Peep show" A-line shift dresses had rectangular sheer panels cut out whimsically at the waist, thigh and arch of the back.
The show closed with a splash of color and light, fluid fabrics that contrasted with the severity of the earlier pieces. Summery silk crepe dresses appeared in eye-popping fuchsia, canary yellow and tangerine, just right to lift the winter mood.
Associated Press Writer Sylvia Hui contributed to this report