x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Katie Trotter: On outspoken Dame Vivienne

Vivienne Westwood could have a point, even if she makes it in a rude manner.

I cannot pretend that I have been on glowing form this last week. In fact, I've been struggling with a terrible cold, the type that makes one feel truly awful - but perhaps not awful enough to spend all the time in bed without suffering from the obvious mandatory guilt.

One thing, however, that cheered me up tremendously was hearing that old Queen Viv, the ever provocative dame of British fashion design, had managed to ruffle a few feathers. Her words - "People today have never looked so ugly!" - were enough to make me haul my sorry bottom out of bed for a good old chortle, the first since pre-sickness days.

Why people were surprised I don't understand. After all, this is the redoubtable Vivienne Westwood, the woman who used Pamela Anderson as a muse in her advertising campaigns, who championed the underwear-as-outerwear trend and who collected an OBE from the real Queen wearing a see-through dress with no underwear.

But on closer inspection, if we weren't all so quick to jump the gun and point fingers, we would realise that what the old professional provocateur was trying to get across was far more interesting - that while, yes, younger woman are not as well dressed as they used to be (and I tend to agree), older women have never looked better.

Which is where it all gets interesting. You see, once things get a little leathery, a little less plump, we are all far too scared of embarrassment, of standing out, of making a fool of ourselves. Our once outlandish, fun and daring wardrobes slowly begin to deplete, leaving us hovering somewhere around the periphery of safe. Which is such a sorry shame. Post-children, post-wrinkles, post-mortgage - this is exactly where things should be at their most interesting. Goodness knows we have more time to think about it all.

There is no doubt it helps when you are a bit bonkers, like Dame Vivienne. If most of us ran off to dye our hair the colour of burning embers, those around us might wonder about the onset of dementia, but perhaps the lady has a point.

Why not celebrate the lines and the wrinkles and the wobbly bits - or at least try to have a little fun with them? Who says there has to be a uniform for those older than 60? Because more likely than not, nobody gives a toot if you go against the grain.

Even those of us who baulk at the idiocy of fashion can't help but feel better wearing something we really love.

Being fashionable is not important. Feeling stylish is.




This week's highs and lows

UNIQLO DUO Who better than the super-blogger Tavi Gevinson and the 1980s idol Cyndi Lauper to model the Japanese fashion giant's new campaign?

NO LONGER IN THE FAMILY Sonia Rykiel recently sold 80 per cent of her business to a Hong Kong-based firm.

PEPLUM See Marc by Marc Jacobs's Spring/Summer 2012 Collection for the best of the season's new skirt shape.

DITCH THE DENIM No man's appearance has ever been improved by a pair of blue jeans - not even in the Nineties. Try tweed or corduroy instead.

SPREAD THE SHINE Our new favourite beauty technique is blending our shimmery shadow to highlight the cheekbone area as seen at Gianfranco Ferre.