PARIS - The rich fabrics and draped silks brought to Europe by the medieval crusaders inspired Vivienne Westwood's fall-winter 2013-14 tour de force.
They were interpreted with the British designer's signature zest in Saturday's show. Draped feminine silk silhouettes accompanied some sublime silk-wool jacquards with medieval images of birds, flowers and strawberries; as well as capes and puffed Juliette sleeves.
"I have a book of reproduced medieval illuminated manuscripts," explained Westwood backstage, provoking smiles for some journalists.
Patterns such as rings, polka dots, interrupted lines and squares were aimed to evoke the decorative patterns on the handmade manuscript borders. But perennial eccentric Westwood, who turns 72 next month, loves mixing up her eras.
"I go back in time in order to give a projection to the future," she said.
The anachronism included some great modern, even futurist, suits. They harked back to the fine tailoring of vintage Westwood with their tiny waists provocative peaked shoulders.
Some of the shows best looks combined both time periods: like one voluminous white knee length skirt with medieval motifs in ultramarine blue and rose pink. Another look — a knitted dress in rust and dark blue and jacket — was just plain stylish.
Without sacrificing any of her usual flamboyance, Westwood has achieved the feat of producing a supremely wearable collection.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP