About Vivienne Westwood …
My duty is to understand. To understand the world. This is our exchange for the luck of being alive. From people who have lived before us we can rediscover different visions of the world through art – this the true meaning of culture – and by comparison, we form our own ideas of a world better than the one we are in, the one that we have made a mess of. We can change our future. In the pursuit of ideas you will start to think, and that will change your life. And if you change your life, you change the world.
Vivienne Westwood, 2014
Born in Derbyshire in 1941, Vivienne began designing clothes in 1971 and opened her first shop “Let It Rock” in London. There have been various name incarnations and the shop is now called Worlds End. You can visit the store or check it out here:
Vivienne Westwood’s designs were at the beginning of the early 1980’s Neo-Romantic movement in fashion and her first collection launched in 1981, titled ‘Pirate’. The Neo-Romantic movement led to a wave of nostalgia featuring colourful masquerades of highwaymen, pirates and other characters. Some wore the complete pirate outfit, while others mixed and matched. Especially admired was the falling-down stockings and the tunic with its powerful print.
During an interview in Harpers & Queen magazine (April 1983), Westwood expressed her viewpoint;
‘I’m very anarchical and perverse about what I do with clothes but what I drive at is simplicity . . . The great thing about my clothes – the way they make you feel grand and strong – is to do with the sexy way they emphasise your body and make you aware of it.’
Florence was the location for Vivienne’s first menswear collection and she still designs for both men and women. Along with many other accolades, Vivienne was named British Designer of the year during 1990 and 1991.
She holds the 1998 Queens Export Award and Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Design (British Fashion Awards, 2007).
Three of my favourite Westwood inspirations:
ROCKING HORSE SHOES
(introduced at the Mini-Crini Collection – Spring/Summer 1985)
Inspired by ‘okobo’, the traditional Japanese wooden clogs worn by geishas, the platform sole was originally created to achieve poise and elevation. The first shoe of this style was called the Rocking Horse Ballerina Shoe.
The collection marked what Westwood described as a “cardinal change” – a shift towards tailoring and adapting ideas taken from historical dress. The stand-out garment of Mini-Crini was Westwood’s short, bell-shaped skirt – a cheekily sexual garment that combined a child’s party frock with an abbreviated version of the Victorian crinoline.
From personal experience, shoes like this are not only comfortable but have a cool rocking motion. You will be pleased to know that the Rocking Horse style has been extended to include other designs ….. buy them here:
LAYERING AND CUT
Draping and construction were one of Vivienne Westwood’s strong points from the start and this was taken up by many of her peers. “Her clothes relate dynamically to the body,” Ms. Kadar-Penner said. “And that’s something that never goes out of style.”
Our active lifestyles of today are made of many different fabrics, with great planning and structure they can be comfortable and stylish.
My favourites are stretchy knitted fabrics, light cottons, and light weight silk fabrics. Mostly, very light weight to medium weight fabrics are suitable for draped garments.
Style followers like myself put up with the cold weather by layering, which can be fun and creative.
Ideas for layering:
- a beautiful scarf in wool, silk or soft cotton
- a structured blazer looks beautiful over a long sleeved top and jeans
- lots of layers of jewellery, as with one of my icons Iris Apfel
- turtlenecks with long necklaces
- patterned tights under thigh-length dresses
- hats in every fabric and colour
- three-quarter sleeve long tops – my favourite stockist (Boody) is here: https://www.boody.com.au/collections/women/products/three-quarter-sleeve-top
OK, I loved the fashion in the Sex and The City movie and the wedding dress sequence was so special.
Designed by Vivienne Westwood, the chosen one “the cloud dress” first popped up in the designer’s Winter 2007/2008 collection. It was then re-designed for Sarah Jessica Parker’s Sex and the City character.
The strapless gown featured two different colors of material: The corset top was made from gold backed ivory silk satin duchess while the skirt was crafted from ivory silk Radzimir taffeta. It was truly one of the most magnificent pieces I’ve ever seen from the television series, and I’m positive I am not the only one who’s still obsessed with the gown. (Raise your hand if you’ve pinned this onto your secret Pinterest wedding board.)
Though you can’t buy Carrie’s exact dress, to celebrate the Sex and the City movie’s 10-year anniversary, Westwood designed several pieces for the Spring/Summer 2018 collection that features elements inspired by Carrie’s wedding gown. In particular, the items were created with the “Wilma cutting system,” which Westwood used to create the original feminine bridal look.
Blissful and so are her current wedding dresses:
Vivienne continues to be a provocateur, radical thinker and nonconformist with a passion for history and reinterpretation of traditional trends.
Shop online here: