Dame Vivienne Isabel Westwood DBE born 8th April 1941 is a British fashion designer and businesswoman, largely responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream creative industry.
Westwood is a designer who often let’s her clothes speak for themselves, as independent designs and as her own statements of culture. She came in to public notice when she made clothes for Malcolm McLaren’s boutique in the King’s Road, which became famous as “SEX She was deeply inspired by the shock-value of punk and wanted to do the same through her creations. She went on to open four shops in London; eventually expanding throughout the United Kingdom and the world, selling an increasingly varied range of merchandise some of it linked to her many political causes.
She’s a fearless 74 year old an English acentric, but extraordanery with her first language being clothes and an owner of a multi-billion pound fashion business you can see why Vivienne Westwood is respected by the world industry.
She dabbled in both men’s and women’s design, specifically in uniforms, which combined her forties dressmaking with touches of Savile Row These pieces were more functional designs of Westwood, as they were primarily for work, but still contained her flair as a designer. She has designed for some of the post powerful and iconic women, such as Kate Beckinsale, Rachel Adams, Minika Kelly and Lana Del Ray.
As-well-as Westwood designing we have seen her in the lime light for campaigning against industrial farming, restrictive gender norms and Scottish Independence using the runway as a platform to voice her outspoken views on politics. As she fights to maintain her brand’s integrity, her principles, and her legacy we now see a documentary film that takes you through Westwood’s early life with Malcolm McLaren, who made their fashion store sex punk headquarters. In the film Westwood is very reluctant to speak about her personal life, this could be because of her biography, which was launched later this year, which she talks about family life, perhaps aware of the controversy?
A favourite classic of mine is the Green Label where Westwood made a similarly powerful statement for men in her AW15 menswear show, where models with severely bruised faces channelled eco-warriors on a mission to save the planet (in a nod to the efforts of Prince Charles. Earlier this year, it was reported that Westwood was donating £300,000 to the Green Party
The best part that really caught me is how Westwood pushes the boundary’s like no other designer, using icons with the industry to get them working with her as a community to tell a message through fashion creation – she clearly makes the world a better place.
Towards the end of this documentary, Vivienne Westwood’s son Joe Corré describes her as Britain’s last genuine punk I couldn’t agree more. There is truth in that. Punk may have effectively vanished in music, but it lives on in Westwood’s clothes, style and the poses she strikes publicly.
By Louise White – Editorial Director