By Carolina Guglielmetti
Posted in Strip Generation
At the age of five he made shoes, at twelve clothes, and almost eighty today he spins on the streets of London and seems not to want to stop. Vivienne Westwood is a revolutionary fashion icon, has distorted the history of English costume and invented the punk style, (to be considered the only real punk still alive).
The earliest years of activity are at 430 King’s Road, flanked by his partner, Malcom Mclaren. The Westwood store has changed its name several times over the years, reflecting a different style each time. From 1971 to 1975 it was called Let it Rock: he sold brothel creeper shoes and sweaters in mohair. From 75 the name became Sex: The clothing was inspired by fetishism and the walls decorated with pornographic images. From 1976 to 1980, he was named “Seditionaries – Clothes for Heroes”. The influence of Mclaren was very strong, during that time manager of the Sex Pistols, the clothes were in fact torn, leather garments, decorated with chains. The opposition to the older generations was beginning.
The years 80 mark the definitive turning point: The shop is renamed World’s End, the interiors recall a real pirate galdron. Vivienne‘s first collection is called “Pirate”. It begins a very professional path, distinctly more romantic, that looks to the story. Vivienne Westwood becomes the cornerstone designer of the musical groups.
The reference elements of its collections are the typical English fabrics (such as tweed) and the mini crinolines. On his boardwalks in 1993 we saw Naomi Campbell fall (for the first and only time) from the high-rise skyscraper, almost thirty inches tall. In 1995, during the parade “Erotic Zones”, Kate Moss, Yasmine le Bon and Naomi arrive on the catwalk eating an ice cream, playing, and offering it to the public present. His parades make rumors, his is an exaggerated elegance, highly provocative, ironic and funny.
Among his most unconventional gestures was the encounter with Queen Elizabeth II, to receive the title of Lady of the Order of the British Empire: Westwood was not wearing underwear. He wore tights and a skirt, which he happily turned in front of the photographers.
Vivienne Westwood is also known for its commitment to political campaigns. In Christmas 2014 he gave British Prime Minister David Cameron a parcel containing asbestos to protest against fracking. Also in 2014 we find it in the forefront for PETA: In the video of the campaign appears naked in the shower inciting people to a vegetarian lifestyle. Interesting note, the video was released on the day of World Water Day.
This year, on February 20, the documentary film dedicated to her was released in Italy: “Westwood. Punk, icon, activist”. In the film is retraced the entire life of the stylist, from professional onset to success, without forgetting the false steps and financial difficulties.
Determined, eccentric but firmly at its own values. Always ready to fight for what he believes in, and this is reflected very well in his style and activism. Today Vivienne is a colossus of fashion, symbol of England itself, as much as Queen Elizabeth or Buckingham Palace, and if we still celebrate it as a creative genius it is because it has influenced a generation, shaken the fashion world and dictated new rules.
COPYRIGHT ACRIMONIA 2019