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18-09-2007
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Vivienne Westwood collects royal honour wearing no knickers - again
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Vivienne Westwood receives her honour and (enlarge) poses with her husband Andreas Kronthaler, her elderly mother Dora Swire, and her eight-year-old granddaughter Cora Corre

Fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood went to Buckingham Palace today without her knickers once again and wearing a pair of silver horns. The style icon caused a stir in 1992 when she collected her OBE from the Queen minus her underwear and twirled round in the courtyard to reveal all. This time, after she was made a Dame by the Prince of Wales, she shyly disclosed she was knicker-less again, adding: "Don't ask. It's the same answer. I don't wear them with dresses. When I'm wearing trousers I might - my husband's silk boxers." She insisted she would not be spinning around in the Palace to demonstrate this. "It's a different dress - that's why I span around (then). I forgot."

Today, she said her outfit - a black cap perched on the back of her vibrant orange hair and a black dress with campaign badges and the tiny horns on her head - showed her as an urban guerilla and a Che Guevara figure. The tiny horns attached to her head were not the sign of the devil, she insisted. "It's a fantastic dress with a sort of net stole. My clothes reflect my political feeling. I'm supposed to be a bit like a Che Guevara - an urban guerilla, with my cap, this kind of jungle net and a badge for my Active Resistance to Propaganda campaign. The horns - we need a new renaissance. We don't have culture. It's a pagan symbol. They're attached by a wire round the back of my head. It's only the Christian religion that says they're anything to do with the Devil. They can be a fertility symbol and be about good things."

Dame Vivienne wore thin lines of bright blue eyeliner over her eyelids and in place of her eyebrows. Her shoes were black mules decorated with lines of studded metal holes. She said Charles did not inquire about her undergarments. "No, of course not," she remarked. But she did disclose that the Queen apparently found the 1992 incident quite funny. I met a man who worked with the Queen and he said she was rather amused by it." She added that the Prince said he hoped her award would help her career.

Dame Vivienne said she was delighted with accolade. "It's so beautiful," she said holding the scarlet ribboned honour. "It's such a lovely colour." She was joined by her husband Andreas Kronthaler, her elderly mother Dora Swire, and her eight-year-old granddaughter Cora Corre, who is also Malcolm McLaren's grandchild. Cora wore a green netted top and blue cap. Dame Vivienne said: "Her outfit is based on mine. She's a little guerilla."

The designer was largely responsible for anti-establishment punk fashion and is known for her subversive and eccentric take on traditional British style. She and Malcolm McLaren, one-time manager of punk band the Sex Pistols, opened a shop called Let It Rock - also known as Sex - in the early 1970s where she began selling her outrageous outfits. The punk style included bondage gear, safety pins, razor blades, bicycle or lavatory chains and spiked dog collars. She said: "It definitely was anti-establishment. I have realised you don't attack the establishment as you just give lots of ideas to marketing." She insisted the best way to change things was to fight against propaganda and declared she was pro the royal family.

Dame Vivienne said she hoped the honour would give her a higher platform from which to campaign for human rights issues. Last year, the international clothes designer forged links with Liberty, adding her name to the group's "statement for justice and security" that highlighted its concern about the Government's anti-terror measures. She said she still enjoyed her designing and was particularly proud of her tailoring and corsets, but added: "I don't think anybody has a clue how much work it is. There's such pressure." She showed her subversive streak at the Palace as she talked about her designs for a forthcoming World Cup badge for a national newspaper. "I drew them a flying penis - it was a Greek good luck symbol - but I wasn't allowed that so I had to change it to a pigeon," Dame Vivienne said, laughing.

Some of her best-known creations include the Mini Crini, bustle-skirts, bondage trousers and 12-inch platform shoes, the type which famously tripped up supermodel Naomi Campbell. She developed the idea of underwear as outerwear - Madonna's legendary conical bra worn on her Blonde Ambition tour, designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, would never have happened if not for Westwood. She also transformed the corset from a symbol of female repression to one of power and sexual freedom.

She was born Vivienne Swire in Glossop, Derbyshire, and her family moved to London when she was 17. At 21, she married Derek Westwood and had a son, Ben, and became a primary school teacher. She quit her job to become the seamstress of punk fashion and opened her shop on Chelsea's Kings Road with her then partner McLaren. The Sex Pistols wore the shop's clothes to their first gig. Westwood's first runway show was presented at Olympia in London in March 1981. Two years later, the collaboration with McLaren, with whom she had given birth to a son, Joseph Corre, ended. She married her former fashion student Mr Kronthaler in 1992.

Below: Vivienne Westwood receives her honour and (enlarge) poses with her husband Andreas Kronthaler, her elderly mother Dora Swire, and her eight-year-old granddaughter Cora Corre.


dailymail.co.uk . published 9 June 2006

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22-09-2007
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This is from her retrospective in 2004 at the V&A.

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Vivienne Isabel Swire was born in Glossopdale, Derbyshire, on 8 April 1941. Her mother had been a weaver in the local cotton mills and her father came from a family of shoemakers. After the war, they ran a sub post office in Tintwistle and in the late 1950s moved to north-west London.

Leaving grammar school at 16, Vivienne briefly attended Harrow Art College. She studied fashion and silversmithing, but left after a term because 'I didn't know how a working-class girl like me could possibly make a living in the art world'. She worked in a factory and trained to become a primary school teacher. In 1962 she married Derek Westwood and in 1963 her first son, Benjamin, was born.

Vivienne always enjoyed 'cutting a dash'. As a teenager in the 1950s, she customised her school uniform to emulate the fashionable pencil skirt and made many of her own clothes, including a long, fitted 'New Look' dress. She made sleeveless shifts, with a single seam and darts, from exactly one yard of fabric.

Frugality and independence remain central to Westwood's character. She has lived in south London for many years, cycles everywhere, and has never relinquished control of her company.

LET IT ROCK 1971: Vivienne Westwood met Malcolm McLaren in 1965, and their son Joseph Ferdinand Corré was born in 1966. Their working relationship, which lasted from 1970 until 1983, launched Punk. Vivienne recalled 'I felt there were so many doors to open, and he had the key to all of them. Plus, he had a political attitude and I needed to align myself.'

McLaren was born in 1946 in Stoke Newington. He attended art school between 1964 and 1971 and enjoyed the idea of 'using culture as a way of making trouble'. He was also obsessed with fashion and music and saw them as inseparable parts of a Rock 'n' Roll outlaw spirit. Rejecting the dominant hippie look, McLaren wore Teddy boy clothes and collected rock 'n' roll, 'the jungle beat that threatened white civilisation'.

In 1971, McLaren opened a shop called Let It Rock, where he sold 'brothel creeper' shoes, and drape coats which he designed and had made up by an East End tailor. The mohair jumpers and drainpipe trousers were made by a local seamstress. Over the next decade the shop underwent frequent changes of identity and stylistic makeovers by McLaren.

SEX 1975: Westwood and McLaren's focus soon shifted to another fashion minority. McLaren renamed the shop Sex and he scrawled above the door 'Craft must have clothes but Truth loves to go naked'. The interior was sprayed with pornographic graffiti, hung with rubber curtains and stocked with sex and fetish wear.

Marco Pirroni, of the group Adam and the Ants, recalled: 'The country was a morass of beige and cream Bri-Nylon and their shop was an oasis. It took great liberalism and bravery to wear rubber in the street. If you shopped there, you didn't go anywhere else.' Westwood saw a kind of loveliness in this forbidden clothing: 'All the clothes I wore people would regard as shocking, I wore them because I just thought that I looked like a princess from another planet.'

Sex was intimidating and it attracted an extraordinary clientele, with voyeurs and prostitutes mixing with proto-Punk King's Road shoppers. Jordan, the shop assistant, was even more extraordinary. She wore rubber clothes, a beehive hairstyle and theatrical make-up. On her daily commute from Sussex, British Rail put Jordan in a first-class compartment for her own protection.

SEDITIONARIES - CLOTHES FOR HEROES 1976-1980: In 1976 McLaren renamed 430 Kings Road Seditionaries - Clothes for Heroes and redesigned its futuristic interior which featured photos of an upside-down Piccadilly Circus and a ruined Dresden. Spotlights poked through roughly hacked holes in the ceiling and there was a live, caged rat in the table.

McLaren was now manager of the Sex Pistols and a key figure in the emerging Punk Rock phenomenon. The Seditionaries collection was an audacious fusion of all the subversive elements in Westwood and McLaren's recent work. There were the ripped garments of 1950s pin-ups; the leather, chains and badges of the bikers; the straps and buckles of the fetishists. As Westwood said, 'You couldn't imagine the Punk Rock thing without the clothing'.

These clothes were never cheap, but the Punks improvised their own gear and the look spread rapidly. It provoked open hostility and is still potent today. Westwood viewed it as 'a heroic attempt to confront the older generation', but inevitably it was absorbed and disarmed by the mainstream. Westwood, then in her early forties, turned her attention to subverting the Establishment from within.

PIRATE 1981: The early 1980s marked a turning point in McLaren and Westwood's career. McLaren was obsessed with music and Westwood, for the first time, began to see herself as a fashion designer. But she needed new direction: 'We wanted to get out of that underground tunnel feeling of England, that dark feeling.' McLaren said, 'Do something romantic. Look at history.'

The shop was again remodelled and settled on its final apotheosis of World's End. The interior became a lurching galleon with small windows, a low ceiling and a sloped decking floor. The fascia had a drooping slate gable and a large clock displaying 13 hours, the hands travelling rapidly back in time.

Out of it came Pirate, McLaren and Westwood's first catwalk collection. It was shown at Olympia in spring 1981, to a blast of cannon fire and rap music by McLaren. The clothes evoked the golden age of piracy, an age of highwaymen, dandies and buccaneers. As in Punk, the garments were unisex. The collection immediately entered the mainstream.
vam.ac.uk

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NOSTALGIA OF MUD 1982-1983: Westwood's horizons opened and expanded. With the help of McLaren, she devised new collections based on ethnic and primitive looks culled from National Geographic magazine. As McLaren put it: 'We want to get out of this island mentality, and relate ourselves to those taboos and magical things we believe we have lost.'

Their second collection was Savage (S/S 1982). It combined Native American patterns with leather frock coats, Foreign Legion hats worn back-to-front, 'petti-drawers' and shorts. Then came Nostalgia of Mud (A/W 1982), with its huge tattered skirts and sheepskin jackets in muddy colours. Punkature (S/S 1983) still had a raw feeling and an emphasis on pre-washed and over-printed natural fabrics. It played on the words 'punk' and 'couture', and carried images from Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner.

In March 1982, McLaren and Westwood opened a second shop. It was called Nostalgia of Mud and the fascia was covered by a world map. The interior was styled like an archaeological dig. Visitors descended on recycled scaffolding to an earth floor and a heaving 'mud' pond surrounded by voodoo-like artefacts. A V&A curator described the shop as 'astounding, totally unique in the retail world'.

WITCHES A/W 1983: For their Witches collection McLaren and Westwood began to conjure up darker spirits. Westwood found 'a magical, esoteric sign language' in the work of the New York graffiti artist Keith Haring. This was printed in fluorescent colours on backgrounds that resembled firework paper.

Witches also featured oversized jackets and coats, double-breasted jackets and huge cream cotton mackintoshes. These were worn with knitted jacquard bodies, tube skirts and pointed hats. The customised trainers had three tongues that emulated the freeze-frame effect of strobe lighting and the jerky sounds of rap music: 'Like sequences of things, where people are dislocated somehow at the same time that they're moving.'

The Witches collection was the final collaboration between McLaren and Westwood. Through their creative partnership, they introduced an entirely new fashion vocabulary which is still influential today.

HYPNOS AND CLINT EASTWOOD S/S 1984 and A/W 1984: By 1984 Westwood had moved to Italy with her new business partner, Carlo d'Amario (still managing director of her company). The Hypnos collection featured sleek garments made out of synthetic sports fabric in fluorescent pinks and greens. They were fastened with rubber phallus buttons. The collection was shown in Tokyo at Hanae Mori's 'Best of Five' global fashion awards, along with work by Calvin Klein, Claude Montana and Gianfranco Ferre.

This was followed by Clint Eastwood, a collection that hankered after the wide open spaces seen in Western films: 'Sometimes you need to transport your idea to a world that doesn't exist and then populate it with fantastic looking people.' It included garments smothered in Italian company logos and Day-Glo patches inspired by Tokyo's neon signs.

MINI-CRINI AND HARRIS TWEED S/S 1985 and A/W 1987: The Mini-Crini collection saw an increasingly shaped look, the antithesis of the masculine shoulder pads and tight hip styles that were current in the 1980s. Westwood's historical research had led her to believe that clothes were about 'changing the shape of the body, about having a restriction'. She now wanted to 'make things that fitted'.

Inspired by the ballet Petrushka, Westwood devised a 'mini-crini' that combined the tutu with an abbreviated form of the Victorian crinoline. Though sexy, the mini-crini was also childish. Its shape echoed the old-fashioned party frock, while the polka dots, stars and stripes came out of Disney cartoons.

The Harris Tweed collection celebrated Westwood's love affair with traditional English clothing and also her growing obsession with royalty. It was named after the woollen fabric hand-woven in the Western Isles of Scotland. Many of the garments - the twinsets made by the long-established firm of Smedley, the 'Stature of Liberty' corsets, the tailored 'Savile' jackets - became Westwood classics.

BRITAIN MUST GO PAGAN S/S 1988 to S/S 1990: The next few collections, which became known as 'Britain Must Go Pagan', were wildly eclectic. Westwood combined traditional British themes with classical and pagan elements. Classical drapery was paired with tweed, Smedley underwear was overprinted with pornographic images from ancient Greece. This strange mix reflected the inherent contradiction in her work, its respect for tradition and culture alongside a love of parody and sexual liberty.

In Time Machine (named after H. G. Wells's novel) Westwood made precise 'Miss Marple' suits in Harris tweed and articulated jackets inspired by medieval armour. Voyage to Cythera, named after a Watteau painting, was another journey into the past. It was followed by Pagan V, in which Westwood turned again to 18th-century France. Printing Sèvres patterns onto classical 'togas', she created a collection that 'telescoped time'.

From this point in her career, references to literature and high art pervaded Westwood's work. The next gallery examines themes that have dominated her collections from the 1990s to the present.
vam.ac.uk


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'Bones' T-shirt : Using chicken bones acquired from a local takeaway Westwood boiled and drilled the bones and attached them with chains and studs to spell keywords such as 'Rock' and 'Perv'. The idea originated in the skull and crossbones of the bikers, but it gave the garment a primitive, talismanic power. One was bought by Alice Cooper. Designed by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.
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Bondage suit

The Seditionaries bondage suit of 1976 was inspired by American military fatigue trousers and the motorcyclists Belstaff jacket. It was first worn by Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols in Paris, and caused uproar. The trousers have a zippered seam under the crotch and a detachable black towelling bum flap, like a loincloth, and 'hobble' straps. Malcolm McLaren said 'Dye it black: make everything black, black, black.' Designed by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.
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'Destroy' T-shirt

This picture shows Vivienne Westwood in 1977 wearing a 'Destroy' muslin T-shirt. It is formed from two squares of fabric with elongated, straitjacket-like sleeves caught back with D-rings, evoking a straitjacket and printed with the word 'destroy' and a swastika. Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren used highly charged slogans and provocative images in a deliberate attempt to provoke the establishment. The muslins quickly became tattered, only adding to their appeal. Designed by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.
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'Pirate' outfit

McLaren and Westwood's Pirate clothes explored historical cut and evoked the golden age of piracy, an age of highwaymen, dandies and buccaneers. As in Punk, the garments were unisex. The collection immediately entered the mainstream and McLaren and Westwood gained a new reputation, as serious and marketable designers. Club owners Michael and Gerlinde Costiff were at the Pirate show: 'It was the most extraordinary thing you had ever seen. It was absolutely magical. There was a glitter of gold, that whole swash-buckling, heroic feeling. It was just stunning, particularly at that grey time.' Designed by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. Photograph by Robyn Beech.
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Witches suit

This suit is from the Witches Collection, A/W 1983-4. The double-breasted, oversize 'Chico' jacket was inspired by McLaren's desire to copy a jacket worn by Chico Marx in a photograph he had found. It is made in navy wool and fastens with horn buttons. The skirt is constructed from an adjustable length cotton jersey tube with navy wool pleats.
Designed by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.
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Red barathea 'Princess' suit

In her Harris Tweed collection of A/W 1987 Westwood introduced a more fitted look. The double breasted jacket is inspired by the princess coats worn by the Queen as a girl. The curved collar and pocket flaps are trimmed with a dress velvet that resembles ermine; it was so expensive that it could only be used sparingly. Westwood said 'My whole idea for this collection was stolen from a little girl I saw on the tube one day. She couldn't have been more than 14. She had a little plaited bun, a Harris tweed jacket and a bag with a pair of ballet shoes in it.'
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'DL' (Dangerous Liaisons) suit

Westwood's work is rooted in English tailoring and she often studied painting for information about the way that garments were cut in the past. A long red barathea jacket with black velvet collar and pockets from Westwood's Portrait Collection, A/W 1990 was inspired by a painting The Boy with a Bat, by Walter Hawkesworth Fawkes, 1760-1770. The outfit includes a scarf printed with a detail from a Boucher painting. The suit was named after Stephen Frears film of 1988.
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Tartan outfit

Westwood's use of tartan is unparalleled. Her fascination with Scottish traditions - as source of inspiration and subject of parody - reoccurred frequently in her collections and triumphed in Anglomania (A/W 1993). Using a mix of different tartans, her ensembles exploited the rich depth, colour and diversity of the traditional checked pattern. The tartans were made to order by Locharron of Scotland, who also created a special design for Westwood called the 'McAndreas', after her second husband, Andreas Kronthaler.
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'Boucher' corset

Westwood's reworking of the corset for outerwear has become one of her most recognisable trademarks. Romantic and historically accurate, the corsets are also surprisingly practical. Stretch fabrics allow ease of movement, and removable sleeves convert a daytime garment to evening wear. Once a symbol of constraint, corsets are now an expression of female sexuality and empowerment. This one is photographically printed with a detail from Boucher's Daphnis and Chloë (1743-5) in the Wallace Collection, London.
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Ballgown

For her Café Society collection Westwood featured a number of evening dresses too vast to be shown on a normal catwalk. These extravagant, rustling silk gowns empower the wearer by their sheer volume and extravagance. They recall the 'swagger' portraits of Van Dyck and other 17th-century 'grand manner' painters, where the subjects are framed in fabric. This dress from Dressed to Scale, A/W 1998, is made in silk taffeta, tulle and raffia. It is Westwood's belief that 'You have a much better life if you wear impressive clothes.'
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Because this lovely dress is part of the retrospective, I'm including it in this thread. I hope nobody minds too much.



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'Blue Sky' dress

In her collections for the 21st century, Westwood has, for the time being, put historicism to one side. After exploring the potential of clothing to reshape the body, she has returned to 'free form' cutting. In Blue Sky, S/S 2003, she uses rectangles, triangular gussets and curved seams to explore the natural dynamic of fabric, as in her 1981 Pirate collection.
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Thank you, SomethingElse, this thread is heavenly!





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.. McLaren - Westwood Worlds End: 1980s Dress

.. I'm not sure exactly which collection this beauty was from. My best guess would be the Savage Collection, but I have never seen this fabric before so I can't be sure. I am sure its an early World's End, Westwood / McLaren, and I am perfectly sure it is rare and very wonderful.

.. The body of the dress is made from super soft, cotton jersey, slightly lighter in weight than a normal t-shirt. The sleeves and those incredible wings that fall from the shoulders are a woven cotton, almost like a gauze. The mint green stripes are actually raised from the fabric, like little flat caterpillar. The ends of the sleeves are finished with the jersey. Notice how they continue to past the knuckle if you let them. The neck, hem and sleeves have unfinished edges, so they naturally roll up for a rough, punky look.

.. The wings as I call them are attached only at the shoulders, creating a cape like look.
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