The Secret Message Behind the Many Manicures at Vivienne Westwood

Plus, fashion finger puppets made for protesting

We’ve come to expect the unexpected at Vivienne Westwood’s runway romps. A temporary penis tattoo played off the bedazzled phallic jewelry at the designer’s Spring 2017 show in Paris, so in comparison, the 40 finger puppets that capped off models’ fingertips at her combined men’s and women’s Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear show in London yesterday were fairly tame. Handcrafted by manicure maven Marian Newman, the nails were “designed around Vivienne’s political message that she’s really excited about this season,” the pro told Scratch magazine via Facebook Live. “The main message of the whole show is recycle and upcycle…but it’s also about how people can be puppets, and they shouldn’t be puppets, but we all love puppets.” Comprised of the tips of latex gloves, bits of fabric, and hair, the puppets were modeled after the faces printed on the fabric in the collection (seen on the trousers Westwood wore to take her bow).

Outside of the puppets, however, there was plenty of repurposing going on behind the scenes. Newman cut two glittery gift bags into oblong pieces in an effort to create makeshift press-ons. There were also “stitched on” nails, raffia wrapped around fingers that were “feeling a little bit sorry” themselves, and foil from “pill packets” adhered to tips. “There’s a bit of a political message about pills which we don’t need to go into, but the foil on the back of the packet looks great when you stick it onto nails—it actually blings out quite nicely!” There was plenty of conventional polish from CND on deck as well, including two new shades from the brand: Veridien Veil (a “punk green” meant to evoke the eco theme) and Berry Boudoir (a “decadent” hue that symbolizes “lies in the bedroom”).

Perhaps the most meaningful manicure, however, was of the “back-to-front” variety. French tips were adhered to both sides of fingertips “so whatever way you face, whoever you are, the world needs to love you and accept you for who you are,” explained Newman. We’re all about a political polish job at Fashion Unfiltered and whether you want to peacefully protest climate change (and that fact that it exists…ahem…Scott Pruitt), or raise a well-manicured “back-to-front” hand for equality, Westwood offered up plenty of options for inauguration day. We plan to flip Trump the bird come January 20…maybe while wearing a finger puppet designed by the Dame herself.

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