Punk icon and mythical designer, Vivienne Westwood has passed away, leaving behind almost half a century of the most extravagant creations, which changed fashion forever. A look back at her most memorable shows.
Vivienne Westwood began the 1980s as an emerging figure in the punk counterculture. The couple she formed with Malcolm McLaren created their silhouettes under the name of the World’s End boutique, located in King’s Road, from 1981. Presented for the first time at fashion shows, their collections reveal a particular artistic approach.
The very first collection, called Pirate (Fall-Winter 1981-1982), initiated a new creative process, nourished by the study of history and cultures, which Vivienne Westwood would not cease to enrich thereafter. On the advice of Malcolm McLaren, she turned to historicism with the French Revolution as her first inspiration. She will find there the notions of revolt and insurrection of the punk years in the 80s. The term pirate evokes a romantic and subversive figure, but also the quest for an escape.
During the March 1981 fashion show, the models wore Walkmans, devices at the cutting edge of innovation to listen to music, allowing in particular, at the time, the illegal recording of radio stations.
Separated from Malcolm McLaren in 1983, the designer, with the strength of her reputation, moves the fashion solo. She imagined themed shows: her fall-winter 1984-1985 collection entitled “Clint Eastwood” made a lasting impression. Indeed, the designer presents fluorescent and logoed pieces, inspired by the neon lights of Tokyo.
For Spring-Summer 1988, the designer was inspired by mythological and Greco-Roman themes. Entitled “England must become pagan”, she invites to an exploration of the “Age of Enlightenment” of the 18th and 19th centuries. It features structured, fitted pieces and narrow proportions with short torsos.
In 1988, while teaching at the School of Applied Arts in Vienna, the designer fell under the spell of the Renaissance style dresses designed by an Austrian student, Andreas Kronthaler. She invited the young student to work with her in her London studio. And despite their 25 years apart, the duo became a couple in the city and in the world of design and even formalized their union by getting married in 1993. Thanks to these new mutual inspirations, Vivienne Westwood entered her creative years named Anglomania in 1993.
In March 2016, the house of Vivienne Westwood announced the name change of the line “Vivienne Westwood Gold Label” to “Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood”. “Over the years, he took over the experimental business and I had to follow. He calls me his muse. I think it was time for the public to understand the truth.” she explained at the time.
Featured photo : © David Corio
Passionnée depuis son plus jeune âge par l’art et la mode, Hélène s’oriente vers une école de stylisme, l’Atelier Chardon-Savard à Paris, avec une option Communication. Afin d’ajouter des cordes à son arc, elle décide de compléter sa formation par un MBA en Management du Luxe et Marketing Expérientiel à l’Institut Supérieur de Gestion à Paris dont elle sort diplômée en 2020. Elle a notamment écrit des articles lifestyle et beauté pour le magazine Do it in Paris et se spécialise en rédaction d’articles concernant le luxe, l’art et la mode au sein du magazine Luxus Plus.********** [EN] Passionate about art and fashion from a young age, Hélène went to a fashion design school, Atelier Chardon-Savard in Paris, with a Communication option. In order to add more strings to her bow, she decided to complete her education with an MBA in Luxury Management and Experiential Marketing at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion in Paris from which she graduated in 2020. She has written lifestyle and beauty articles for Do it in Paris magazine and specializes in writing articles about luxury, art and fashion for Luxus Plus magazine.