VALE DESIGNER EXTRAORDINAIRE
Vale designer extraordinaire – Dame Vivienne Westwood.
Confidence and self-expression were the hallmarks of fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood.
Vivienne Westwood’s career as a fashion designer started with a love of great style – Dior’s New Look was a major influence for her.
Her other major influences were a strong desire for change and art.
Her rebellious spirit was initially channelled into the creation of clothing that gave us punk fashion.
The overarching desire was always to create something beautiful that made the wearer feel confident.
Art enabled her to achieve this desire.
Vivienne Westwood was a self-taught fashion designer and art was her muse. The meticulous research she undertook into art and fashion informed her collections. It was what also what made them unique.
As a fashion designer Vivienne Westwood set trends, she did not follow them.
A product of this research is the tube skirt. This is an invention she owns entirely. While the enduring presence of corsets particularly when worn as outerwear is another.
I got to know Vivienne Westwood’s work via a visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. What I loved was her silhouettes and the fabrics.
In in the 80’s she created a more womanly silhouette exemplified by the Mini-Crini when power shoulders were the look de jure.
When the 90’s became about grunge and slip dresses, Vivienne sent models down the catwalk in tweeds, tartans and twinsets.
In the 1993 Anglomania collection famously we saw corsets, bustles and blue 12 inch platform heels.
Into the 21st century her activism and focus on climate change was reflected in deconstructed military inspired looks. And more recently, more unisex collections.
The focus remained on creating well-tailored looks were fluidity and structure work together.
Vivienne Westwood made clothes to feel confident in, and in which you could fully express your style.
Vale Dame Vivienne Westwood.
Watteau evening dress, Vivienne Westwood, 1996, England. Museum no. T.438:1 to 4-1996. © Vivienne Westwood/Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Pair of platform shoes, designed by Vivienne Westwood, 1993, England © Vivienne Westwood/Victoria and Albert Museum, London