The famous British designer Vivienne Westwood, away from all conventionality and possessing an exultant creativity, has passed into history as the most transgressive figure in the world of fashion. We go over the life of the ‘punk’s lady’.
Great, irreverent, unconventional, independent and activist, Vivienne Westwood evokes endless adjectives at her 75 years. She is the person who best embodies the punk spirit. Far beyond fashion, this revolutionary woman is still lecturing in design world with his sanguinary slogans in favor of justice and freedom.
While the youth of half world allowed growing their manes and championed Peace and Love, London of the early 70’s was writing his own rebellion. And among this social and cultural revolution, a young Vivienne provoked the demure British society with a huge pink sign with the three forbidden letters: SEX, her first shop. Located in the 430 King’s Road, she opened it in 1971 with Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols and architect of the change of the designer’s life.
Beside him, Vivienne started to send tacks, leather, zippers, perforated t-shirts with messages or piercings. This long list of eccentricities attracted “London underground” and converted her in the punk’s queen.
Westwood recovered tartan as a nod to the repression of the Scottish people by the British crown, she endorsed Doctor Martens and she holed, painted and filled them with chains, and made the t-shirts the best claim to capture his revolutionary ideas. He repudiated the church, monarchy and capitalism, forging a transgressor idealism that fascinated young Britons of the time and that continues today.
Her do it yourself customizations with lingerie, zippers, anarchists badges, plaids and mix of stylings, attracted in mass the most disparate personalities who appreciated the provocation and rebellion of this great creator. From her ideas and cultural beliefs emerged legendary garments such as the cowboys T-shirt or Destroy model. It was a mockery to English establishment, but it led her to occupy a prominent place in fashion.
Her first show with Malcom took place in 1981, where the privateer look and a punk pirate army convulsed the most secular and conservative criticism by her genius and talent. After the personal and professional separation of Malcom, Westwood continued staying true to her rebellious creativity: zany Scottish prints, deconstruction of fashion elements of XVII-XIX centuries, bustiers, tight waists and bustles became her hallmarks. A tour that keeps shouting against injustice to provoke thinking people, however uncomfortable that may be. Because what she makes, it’s still punk.
Although provocation remains part of the repertoire of Westwood, currently the designer prefers to show their activism and commitment by protests about the controversial gas extraction, mass tourism and the climate change from her website Climate Revolution.
What once was considered a rebellion now is understood as art, what once was extravagance and eccentricity now is genius and talent. So many of her shirts were auctioned at Sotheby’s or Christie’s, her creations are exhibited in the best museums in the world and even Queen Elizabeth II of England honored her in 1992 with the Order of the British Empire.
The great designer celebrates 75 years with all honors: with the book Get a Life of Vivienne Westwood, where her last six years of fashion and activism are collected. Available from October 6, it is a sort of daily which will be a testament to her vital struggle for changing the things that do not work. A laborious and personal testimony that it is about fashion, but also art, literature, human rights and freedom. Profile Books will publish the work.
Vivienne Westwood’s virtue lies in the fact that she has always said what she thinks and she has therefore been able to express her unusual genius through fashion and life. And the world finally has been able to understand it. Long life to the eternal Punk’s Queen.