Wed, Oct 01, 2008 - Page 13 News List

Paris designers defy economic woes

With the world’s financial system teetering on the brink, top designers dreamed up antidotes to the economic blues that plague haute couture

By Joelle Diderich  /  AP , PARIS

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD

Westwood earned the nickname of Queen of Punk by cobbling together outfits for the Sex Pistols with safety pins. Now she wants you to do the same.

“In these hard times — dress up,’’ she said in a handwritten statement handed out to guests. “There is status in wearing your favorites over and over until they grow old (patina) or fall apart.’’

One model stepped down the catwalk wrapped in reams of lush pink taffeta straight off the roll and gladiator sandals with natural leather straps that extended all the way up the thigh.

Ever the political campaigner, the flame-haired British designer took her bow wearing a green T-shirt emblazoned with “US$30 billion’’ — the sum she said was needed per year to save the rainforest.

It was not the first time Westwood has criticized the futility of the fashion industry, but it was hard not to feel like she was shooting herself in the foot. After all, if anyone can do it, why pay big bucks for designer duds?

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