Vivienne Westwood Has Words for Obama and Other World Leaders

It’s well-known that designers have nerves of steel—but a heart of gold to match? Just weeks after her surprise appearance at St. Paul’s in support of Occupy London and pledging to donate £1 million to the rainforest charity Cool Earth, the poster child of prêt-a-punk, Vivienne Westwood, showed her fall ’12 men’s collection with a statement backing the philanthropic work of Sir David Attenborough. She also deplored the failure of world leaders to acknowledge the perils of climate change.

“Our collection is in support of David Attenborough’s documentary series The Frozen Planet,” the statement read, “which will go to America but unfortunately without the final episode where he explains that we humans are responsible for the ice melt.”

In the collection, Westwood revisited her roots by outfitting her models in plaid-on-plaid. But instead of her signature Baroque-abilly verve, the collection referenced American folklore. Ruddy-faced lumberjacks in utilitarian plaid shirts, chinos, and Navajo-print shrugs took the stage with fresh icicles still clinging to their Paul Bunyan-sized beards. It’s an image that aspires, like the myths themselves, to rekindle humankind’s kinship with nature.

“Imagine a world of accelerating natural disasters, one after the other so that nobody can help anyone else. Public opinion is the only thing that will save us,” Westwood notes, archly adding, “Barack Obama never mentions the words climate change.”

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