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Westwood takes
fashion world to Stone Age cave

Westwood takes
fashion world to Stone Age cave

British designer Vivienne Westwood transformed her catwalk into a Stone Age cave on Tuesday, sending out models who sported high furry hats, or were wrapped in knitted cardigans, or wore bone pendants dangling from their necks.

The 65-year-old Westwood, who has kept her edge since her bondage-inspired creations for the Sex Pistols punk band in the 1970s, said she had been inspired by the image of a "cave girl."

"It's a political message. The cave girl has just opened her eyes and doesn't know human beings yet," Westwood said backstage ahead of her show, as make-up artists were applying thick layers of silver-sparkle eye shadow to models' faces.

"She doesn't know that human beings have a choice. They can become cultivated...or become animals that destroy. We have become animals that destroy. The message is that there is no progress without culture," the redheaded Westwood said.

Westwood, who is famed for using British fabrics such as tweed and tartan for her daring clothes, has not been shy to add political or extravagant touches to her collections in the past.

She has presented tops reading "I'm not a terrorist. Please don't arrest me" to protest against draconian antiterrorism measures. And invitations to her show last year featured a blue penis with wings, which she called a "good luck sign."

On Tuesday, Westwood brought out models wearing blouses with armour-like pads attached to their shoulders. Some dresses featured large air pockets at breasts and hips, making the skinny models look more shapely.

With their over-knee boots and mini-skirts, models looked far more stylish than TV culture's best-known representatives of the Stone Age--the fur-clad Flintstone family.

"I never watch television," Westwood told reporters at her show, adding the only events she had watched in the past few years had been the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States and an interview with pop star Michael Jackson.

Fashion experts say eccentric designers such as Westwood, France's Jean Paul Gaultier, or Britain's John Galliano are helping to give the entire industry an exciting edge. "If you got rid of the strong identities of these people, the whole machine would be of no interest whatsoever," said Maria Luisa Poumaillou from the trendy Maria Luisa fashion shop in the French capital. "They represent all that fashion means in the noblest sense of the word."

Gaultier, who created pop star Madonna's famous cone-shaped bustier, is to present his collection later on Tuesday.

The swashbuckling Galliano has based his past collections on themes ranging from ghosts to geishas and goths. The designer with the trademark headband is to present his new line for Christian Dior later on Tuesday. (Reuters)

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