PARIS: Flamboyant fashion designer Vivienne Westwood revealed the secret of her eternal youth Saturday – only taking a bath once a week.
The 76-year-old queen of punk fashion let it slip after watching her husband Andreas Kronthaler’s spectacularly idiosyncratic show at Paris Fashion Week.
Asked by reporters how she managed to look so young, Westwood smiled and said, “Don’t wash too much.”
“She only takes a bath every week. That’s why she looks so radiant,” said Kronthaler, who Westwood has described as “the world’s greatest designer.”
“I only wash once a month,” joked the Austrian-born creator, who is 25 years Westwood’s junior.
Westwood, an environmentalist and vegetarian who has campaigned against the meat trade depleting water supplies, has previously said that “I just wash my bits and rush out in the morning and more often than not get in the bath after Andreas.”
Kronthaler – who is said to have inspired comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s 2009 fashion satire “Bruno” – lived up to his reputation for decadent excess in his Paris show which featuring no less than 68 looks and a dozen more human sculptures wrapped in duvets.
“There is nothing better than giving people choice,” he told AFP of a collection he said was filled with “lust, desire, sex and sadness.
“We travelled quite a bit this summer and I tried to put it all into it.”
He said he spent some of his time on holiday in a Tyrolean cowshed and named the dresses in his collection after the cows.
One outfit is called Vivienne after a calf his wife helped deliver. Two others are called Naomi and Donatella, two names more redolent of the runway than alpine pastures.
“Now I am ready for something different... I cannot wait to get my hands on the next mess,” Kronthaler added.
The designer said his Austrian country childhood with its corsets and traditional drindl dresses was the springboard for his at times wildly experimental collection that included two models wearing a set of curtains complete with rails.
A painted satin dress fit for a Chinese empress, however, drew spontaneous applause from the front row.
“Folklore gets a bad name but we should use tradition,” Kronthaler said. “I had a completely secluded safe and happy life growing up, and when that is embedded in you, you go through life in that way. If you can give someone the chance to live in the countryside I would always tell them to do so,” he added.
But Kronthaler, whose Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood range alternates with his wife’s collections, said he did not always appreciate his rural idyll.
“For a long time I did not like my name and where I came from. I always wanted to be called Maximilian or Augustus. I wanted to come from somewhere like Rome. Today I’m okay with it all. The older I get the more sensual I feel.”
Kronthaler’s show was one of a clutch of eye-catchingly original shows on Saturday. The Japanese Comme des Garcons label – whose shows also push the boundaries of the wearable, and those between art and couture – sent out a line of gravity defying outfits and colourfully printed double coats, one worn inside the other.
Earlier former Comme des Garcons stalwart Junya Watanabe wowed critics with his two-tone punk designs made from prints from the famous Finnish textile house Marimekko. -- AFP