One of the most recognizable names in fashion history is Vivienne Westwood. She passed suddenly at the age of 81, having amassed a level of international notoriety mostly because of her works, which were able to speak both the language of social protest and couture, irrevocably combining the two. Her clothes served as a sign of identity representation, a declaration of affiliation, and a blatant expression of political and social opposition. They also captured the rebellious spirit of the time. Vivienne diligently worked for the environment problem in addition to freeing the younger generation from the antiquated machinery of the Ancient Bourgeois Regime. The Lady of England has consistently denounced the repercussions of global warming and excessive consumption, while, of course, blaming the fashion industry for its shortcomings in exalting materialism and its capitalist tendencies. The Lady of England has consistently denounced the negative impacts of consumerism and global warming, while, of course, blaming the fashion industry for its role in celebrating these traits. She also wrote a Manifesto for the younger generation that relies on culture as the main impetus to save the planet, which she signed, “I want you to help me save the world, but I can’t do it alone,” letting her combative energy shine through. She wanted to mobilize global attention on the issue of ecology with the 2021 Climate Revolution collection. impact of her efforts and advocacy for her principles in the future. Her community and her boyfriend Andreas Kronthaler, who has been in charge of the brand’s creative direction since 2016, have ensured that her legacy will keep growing. Retracing some of her most important designs will let us commemorate one of fashion’s favorite rebels who has passed away.
She punched the fashion elite in the face with her punk creations in 1971 when she opened Let it Rock, a boutique at 430 Kings Road with her partner and Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. Her punk creations included T-shirts with the Queen’s face printed full of safety pins, latex pants, bondage details, and the incredibly traditional English tartan. Following the evolution of Vivienne’s creative flair and her collections, from the neo-romantic Pirates in high boots, Napoleon hats, and shirts full of ruffles to the street-style Witches wearing knitted garments decorated by Keith Haring, the store’s name changed season after season (Too Fast To Live Too Young to Die, then SEX, Seditionaires, and, finally, Worlds End,…)
After their collaboration with McLaren came to an end, Westwood discovered the ideal fusion of French and English history, art, and revolt. The cooperation with Andreas Kronthaler and the most well-known fashion presentations, including those when Kate Moss ate ice cream while baring her breasts and Naomi Campbell fell while wearing high heels, coincided with the 1990s. Everyone at the time coveted her mini-crunchy dresses and corsets, but the designer who dared to enter Buckingham Palace without wearing undergarments was unfazed by celebrity. Because Viv is still the unique young woman she has always been despite becoming a Dame. In reality, there is always a struggle to be fought in both life and on the catwalk, such as the one for inclusion pursued in the 2015 Unisex: Time to Act! collection or the one for the climate on which the creative concentrated recently before naming her partner Andreas Kronthaler.
“Pirate,” from the 1981 Fall/Winter collection by Vivienne Westwood
Pirate was Vivienne Westwood’s first official line, and it debuted on the runway during London Fashion Week in 1981. The designer turned to art and history for inspiration instead of the punk designs she had experimented with in her business at 430 Kings Road. As a result, FW created a line of romantic, unisex, and colorful clothing that was inspired by bandits, dandies, and buccaneers and that many pop singers associated with the underground New Romantics movement, such Boy George and Adam and the Ants, adopted as their look. The collection’s most beloved item? The very definition of unpretentious cool is Pirate Boots.
“Witches,” Vivienne Westwood’s FW 1983–84 collection.
When Vivienne Westwood and Keith Haring first met, they co-founded one of the most intriguing fashion and streetwear collaborations. These two unconventional designers defied convention by creating a range of vibrant, hip outfits that combine sports-inspired elements, Asian influences, and Keith Haring’s well-known stylised small figurines. A close friend of the creative New Yorker, Madonna, saw the collection and fell in love with it right away. She wore it multiple times and helped make it even more well-known. Witches is significant because it signifies the dissolution of the collaboration between Malcolm McLaren and Westwood.
Vivienne Westwood’s Fall/Winter 1990–1991 – Portrait
The Portrait line perfectly captures Westwood’s passion for both art and corsets. The François Boucher painting Daphnis and Chloe and the rococo designs of 18th-century furniture printed in gold ink that found new life on corsets and black stretch velvet garments are the two works from the Wallace collection of 18th-century French paintings and decorative arts that served as the inspiration. Years from now, it-girls like Bella Hadid and FKA Twigs will consider these corsets essential pieces for their wardrobes.
“Anglomania,” by Vivienne Westwood, Fall/Winter 1993–1994
From 1993 through 1999, Westwood worked to create a fresh image that merged the best of French and English fashion, fusing refined British tailoring with the French penchant for exaggerated proportions. This is best illustrated by Anglomania. Together with Andreas Kronthaler, the designers of the FW 1993–1994 collection combined tartan, furs, kilts, puffy silhouettes that would be ideal for Versailles, and extremely high heels, similar to those that Naomi Campbell wore on the catwalk just before she fell.
“Café Society,” from Vivienne Westwood’s SS 1994 collection
Vivienne chose a grandiose and sumptuous setting for the performance. Models with powdered faces and pink lips moved lazily while sucking ice cream and winking at each other in a set that included chaise lounges and rugs. The press was irritated by the high rate of sexiness, which diverted attention away from the tiny crochet bikinis, lavish and voluminous evening dresses, and bow-tied shirts. It was unmistakable to see Kate Moss with naked breasts, a very short miniskirt, and a Magnum in her palm.
“On Liberty,” by Vivienne Westwood, Fall/Winter 1994–1995
With loads of tartan, equestrian fashion inspiration, and British comedy, Westwood continues to explore historicism and sexuality. Considered to be a sort of early iteration of Comme des Garçons’ “Lumps and bumps” line, On Liberty.
“Anglophilia,” by Vivienne Westwood, Fall/Winter 2002–2003
Westwood revisits the historical images she adores the most and modernizes it. One of the many pieces shown in Anglophilia that the designer reinterprets is the wrinkled silk garment worn by Madame de Pompadour in a painting by François Boucher, a favorite of hers. As with every other collection by Dame Viv, this one features asymmetrical cuts, an unusual taste, and vivid depictions of art and history.
“Le Flou Taille” is the Vivienne Westwood fall/winter 2003–2004 collection.
The need to “reintroduce the excellence of the couture cut in the prêt-à-porter” is discussed. For Vivienne, combining fluidity and tailoring into a single ensemble is the pinnacle of excellence and expertise.
Propaganda, by Vivienne Westwood, Fall/Winter 2005–2006
Vivienne Westwood has a history of questioning authority through her use of fashion. One of the collections that the British designer considers to be among the most political was inspired by her activism in the 2000s, which focused largely on Climate Change and Propaganda. Deconstructed corsets and skirts, coats with military inspirations, layering, and slogans, in addition to the goods’ constant historical references, are what truly distinguish them.
“Unisex: Time to Act” is the theme of Vivienne Westwood’s Fall/Winter 2015–16 collection.
Although the collection’s sources of inspiration are identified as “shepherds and Sumerians,” the finished product is essentially a reflection on unisex fashion and inclusion. The runway included a mix of tailored suits, androgynous looks, hula skirts, bangs, hooded capes, and long floral dresses.