“We’ve relaunched them a few times over the years,” said Andreas Kronthaler, the label’s co-designer. “They’re quite old. They’re from a collection called Witches in the early 1980s. Vivienne was probably the first person to use trainers in a fashion show.”
Originally in all-white, the style is returning this time in a solid black leather as well as a money-print canvas inspired by a dress Westwood wore to close her fall ’12 London collection. “When you walk, the tongues move, and it looks like you’re losing all the money,” Kronthaler said.
Other inspirations for the fall ’15 shoes include Keith Haring’s artwork (Westwood collaborated with him on Witches) and pirates, which prompted the label’s iconic buckled Pirate boot and squiggle print. This season, the squiggle print is transferred from the Pirate boot onto classic dress laceups, a new style for the label.
Whatever the style, fantasy elements are a favorite of the brand. “Shoes are very important — even more important than the clothes,” declared Kronthaler. “If a shoe is bad, it really talks about somebody.”
Below, we ask Kronthaler a few more essential questions.
Vivienne Westwood recently accepted the Savannah College Art & Design Andre Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award. Tell me about the night.
Andreas Kronthaler: “We spent three days down in Savannah, and there was a student fashion show. I like student fashion shows very much — they’re very entertaining and amusing. [The Savannah College] students’ clothes were professional and sleek … but I wanted them to be more wrong, and a little more crazy. Having fun is such an important aspect of fashion.”
The triple-tongue sneaker is from the 1980s collection Witches. What was the inspiration for that season?
AK: “When Vivienne came to New York in the ’80s, it brought her and [artist] Keith Haring together. She liked to have some of this artwork and used some of his prints and jacquards on knitwear. Then she needed shoes for the collection, so she created the three tongues coming out — sort of symbolizing this cup-up world, a tuc-tuc-tuc movement. The shoe is a classic for us, so we wanted to use it again.”
You also brought back the money print, which Vivienne wore to close the fall ’12 collection. What was the reference for the print?
AK: “The money print was for a collection called ‘London.’ It symbolizes England, and it was printed on bags and shoes. It’s going to be in our new campaign. There’s one image where the model is wearing a complete suit in the money print, with the three-tongue sneakers to match. It looks great.”