- The Washington Times - Monday, September 29, 2008

PARIS (AP) - Eccentric British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood had simple advice on Monday for fashion addicts hit by the economic downturn: do it yourself!

The Queen of Punk made her name by cobbling together outfits for the Sex Pistols with safety pins. Now she recommends that you do the same.

“In these hard times dress up,” she said in a handwritten statement handed out to guests at her ready-to-wear show. “There is status in wearing your favorites over and over until they grow old (patina) or fall apart.”

Guests including U.S. singer Katy Perry and British artist Tracey Emin gathered at the Fine Arts school on the French capital’s Left Bank to view the spring-summer 2009 collection. They breathed a sigh of relief when it finally started, nearly 90 minutes late.

One model stepped down the catwalk wrapped in reams of lush pink taffeta straight off the roll and gladiator sandals with natural leather straps that extended all the way up the thigh.

The draping turned artful on a terra-cotta jersey dress, or a raw-edged white gauze gown roughly embroidered with black plastic flowers.

Ever the political campaigner, the flame-haired designer took her bow wearing a green T-shirt emblazoned with “$30 billion” the sum she said was needed per year to save the rainforest.

It was not the first time Mrs. Westwood has criticized the futility of the fashion industry, but it was hard not to feel like she was shooting herself in the foot at a time when retail stocks are tumbling. After all, if anyone can do it, why pay big bucks for designer duds?

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