Vivienne Westwood AW22 Campaign
Sorcha Ní Cheallaigh takes a trip exotic South London for the new campaign
With his distinctive sense for personal and unfiltered portraits, Juergen Teller captures the transformation of South London’s Battersea for the Vivienne Westwood AW22 campaign. Battersea has long been Westwood’s creative sanctuary, with her constantly evolving design studio sitting only a five-minute walk from the River Thames. As with the approach to design, Westwood’s approach to space honours the landscape of London’s famous little creative enclave.
The design studio was originally created to welcome, repurpose and reuse and the layers of architectural history already present. “Our studio is our home”, says creative director Andreas Kronthaler, “and we have seen the area of Battersea change so much.” As the London district that built the first true council estate in the U.K., the area does have a rich social heritage that matches seamlessly with Westwood’s personal ethos and politics. Recently, the Royal College of Art Design & Innovation campus was built right next to the studio. With it brought a fresh, young, and creative new generation to the Vivienne Westwood doorstep. “It feels like the new Brick Lane, it’s really happening,” said Kronthaler. “We got to know them so well – so we decided to shoot where we’re based – where everything is born.”
With overall creative direction by Westwood and Kronthaler, the campaign features pioneering singer/songwriter Courtney Love, alongside Westwood, Kronthaler and a cast of young models and street talent. Channelling a symbiotic and expanding personal history, Teller’s eye proves intuitive. His decade-long relationship with Westwood infuses the work with intimacy, while his past collaborations with Love herself shine through with mutual admiration and respect in the images.
The campaign also marks the first time Love and Teller have worked together since their genre-defining collaborations of the 90s. Naturally, Teller is masterly at capturing the authentic playfulness, love, and companionship between Kronthaler and Westwood, and Westwood and Love. In one moment, Kronthaler mugs for the camera while Westwood watches. In another, Love and Westwood stand on an industrial bench and hold hands, staring down the lens. The shots mirror the season’s own visions of duality; a narrative expanded upon with images of identical twin sisters Maddie and Margo Whitley.
“I’ve always looked up to Vivienne. She did so much more than invent punk,” Love says of her love for the designs. “I was thinking of Diane Arbus’ Twins photo, but also taking the hand of a leader who gives no fucks – who would help me go to the next place beyond the Instagram filters and the over-retouching that’s always tried to turn me into the petite, dainty flower that I’ve never been”.
Alongside the brutalist workshops of the Royal College of Art, aesthetically imperfect and unremarkable locations offer a perfect backdrop for Westwood’s newest collection. Two of the cast are pictured wading into the polluted waters of the River Thames, as if to visualise what should and should not be. Another reclines nonchalantly in a cherry red wrap dress against a muddy, grey riverbed, exaggerating the contrast and highlighting the unaffected nature of the Westwood brand.
Localities often associated with uninspiring design and amateur photography offer ultra-modern contexts for the House’s ready-to-wear, with young artists like Isaac Wang posing in a manner equally ethereal and pedestrian. “A genius feminist scholar told me ‘the only truly transgressive act one can do, is to be a woman ageing in public,’” continues Love. Through Teller’s artistry, Vivienne Westwood presents her stark rebellion amidst a sea of Photoshop perfection and youth idolatry, and stands out as a welcome oasis of contemporary hyper-reality within it.
For more information on the Vivienne Westwood AW22 collection, click here
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