Can you spot Viv?… By the face?
Vivienne Westwood was born in Derbyshire, England in 1941. Her father was a shoemaker and her mother a cotton weaver. When she was 16, her family moved to London and Vivienne attended the Harrow School of Art. After spending just one term there, she left to become a primary school teacher. She met her first husband Derek Westwood in 1962 got married to him. They had a son Ben. In 1965, she met Malcolm McLaren who became her partner in fashion as well as life. Vivienne Westwood is known as the most eccentric and influential of Britain’s fashion designers. Every season, she puts out on the runway the most amazing and spectacular clothes. Her Logo is a royal ORB with a cross on top, bejewelled and impressive as befits the Queen of British fashion.
In 1971, Vivienne Westwood started a shop with her husband called “Let it Rock” on London’s trendy Kings Road. She would spend all night stitching rock-inspired clothes, visiting punk clubs and grunge bars. Three years later, the couple opened another boutique called “Sex”, selling pornographically printed T-shirts and garments with sexual slogans printed on them. In 1977 they changed the name of their boutique to “Seditionaries” and sold garments with a bondage look made of leather. Three years afterwards there was yet another change of name to “World’s End” and Vivienne introduced her Pirate collection, including frilly shirts and romantic swashbuckling styles. It was very successful.
In 1982 Vivienne Westwood introduced the first collection bearing her own name which proved very popular. Her collections were called Buffalo, Savage, and Punkature. A year later, she gave a fashion show in Paris, the first British designer to do so since Mary Quant in the 60’s. People remember it as one of the best shows ever, but chic Parisiennes were horrified by the riotous behaviour and punky London garments. The collection was called “Punkature”.
When her relationship with McLaren ended, Vivienne Westwood’s shops closed but her talent could not be kept down. She opened a studio in London’s Camden area. In 1984 her new collection was called Hypnos and was the first sports collection with fluorescent fabrics on the catwalk. Other collections included crinoline, tweed, Greek drapery and fig-leaf tights.
Vivienne Westwood won her first British Designer of the Year award in 1990 and then a second one the year after. In 1992 Vivienne Westwood was also awarded an O.B.E. and went to receive it from the Queen in a see-through blouse, and a skirt which when swirled around displayed her lack of underwear. She shocked the world.