PARIS - "Global exotic," is how English designer Vivienne Westwood described her brilliant and wacky spring-summer 2013 show, hosted on terra mater in Paris' British Embassy.
Westwood is the only designer on the Paris fashion calendar — or perhaps anywhere — who can travel the globe across several centuries, mixing up Bangkok-style catwomen, Chinese tea prints, tropical cowboys, Velasquez peasants, the Ballets Russes, and Queen Elizabeth II, and still produce a coherent and unified show.
It's owed to her unique eccentricity.
Westwood cited Sergei Diaghilev's "Ballets Russes" — the early 20th century's most famous ballet company — as a key inspiration.
The influential troupe used exotic styles with billowing trousers and turbans — which was evoked in many of the baggy globe-trotting looks.
One of the nicest looks came in a series of modified Japanese kimonos.
One in light grey silk, with wide bateau collar, had fluttering hoop panels that fluttered by.
Above all else, Westwood — who's 71 — has lost none of her humour.
There was a special guest star — a model portraying Queen Elizabeth II. She clutched a handbag in a crown and demure grey silk dress. In this cameo, unlike in the Olympic Games opening ceremony in which a queen look-a-like parachuted into the main stadium, the model just walked in through the embassy door.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http:/ /Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP