Friday, 25 February 2011

Friday quotes - Vivienne Westwood

"You have a much better life if you wear impressive clothes"

Vivienne Westwood
(b. 1941)

Vivienne Westwood is one our greatest fashion designers.  She is famous for bringing punk and new wave to the mainstream.

With her ex-husband Malcolm McLaren she owned the influential Kings Road clothing shop, variously named SEX, Seditionaires, Let It Rock, Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die and World's End.

McLaren was then manager of the Sex Pistols and together they designed the band's clothes which incorporated elements of BDSM, bondage gear, safety pins and razor blades.  Members of the Bromley contingent, Soo Catwoman, Jordan and Siouxsie Sioux modeled many of her creations.

Vivienne Westwood showed her first collection in Pirates in 1981 and subsequent years have seen Savage (1982), Buffalo Girls (AW82), Clint Eastwood (AW84) "Sometimes you need to transport your idea to an empty landscape and populate it with fantastic looking people."  The period from 1988-1992 is known as The Pagan Years where her heroes change from punks and ragamuffins to Tatler girls wearing clothes that parodied the upper class.  1993-1999 she called Anglomania and from 2000 to the present Exploration.

The first major retrospective of her work was at the V&A in 2004.  The exhibition was created from 145 outfits ranging from early punk garments to "historical" evening gowns.

In a 2007 interview she spoke out against what she perceive as the "drug of consumerism",[19] and she attended the première of The Age of Stupid, a film aiming to motivate the public to act against climate change.[20]
In 2007 she created a manifesto of Active Resistance to Propaganda, which deals with the pursuit of art and motivating people to act against climate change.  In her manifesto, she "penetrates to the root of the human predicament and offers the underlying solution. We have the choice to become more cultivated and therefore more human – or by muddling along as usual we shall remain the destructive and self-destroying animal, the victim of our own cleverness."

Against the claim that anti-consumerism and fashion contradict each other, she said in 2007 that "I don't feel comfortable defending my clothes.  But if you've got the money to afford them, then buy something from me.  Just don't buy too much."

Vivienne is married to her former student Andreas Kronthaler.  For thirty years she lived in the same Clapham council flat until Andreas persuaded her to move into a Queen Anne style house built in 1703 and once owned by Captain Cook.

I've loved Vivienne for a very long time.  She is one of my favourite designers, I think she's amazing.  Here are some of her quotes.

"Fashion is about eventually becoming naked"

 "I was the first person to have a punk rock hairstyle"

"Malcolm and I were probably the straightest people on that scene"

"When we were young I fell in love with Malcolm [McLaren]. 
I thought he was beautiful and I still do.
I thought he was a very charismatic, special and talented person. 
The thought of him dead is really something very sad"

Photography by William English

"We based the look on rock 'n' roll right from the beginning"

"I was walking down the street in rubber negligées and high-heel stiletto shoes at a time when other people were wearing denim, flares and platforms.  You felt very heroic.  I knew I looked good"

[On clothing shop SEX]
"We wanted to create the feeling of being inside a womb, but also in a sort of sex torture chamber"

[On her high heels]
"I like to literally put women on a pedestal"

"I think stamped-out clothing is just for clones and I think everybody looks terribly miserable"

"Fashion is life-enhancing and I think it's a lovely, generous thing to do for other people"

"If you ask me what I think people should be getting next season.  I'll tell you what I'd like them to buy - nothing.  I'd like people to stop buying and buying and buying.  There's this idea that somehow you've got to keep changing things, and as often as possible.  Maybe if people just decided not to buy anything for a while, they'd get a chance to think about what they wanted; what they really liked"

"Why do people think that if you don't dress up, others will appreciate your beauty more - that style will somehow emanate from you?  It's rubbish.  If you dress up it helps your personality to emerge - if you choose well"

"So many women don't seem to even understand what sexy means.
Sexy is about looking powerful and important"

"It is life-enhancing to dress well.  It's generous.
 It's a self-expression to find clothes that suit you"

"I think dress, hairstyle and make-up are the crucial factors in projecting an attractive persona and give one the chance to enhance one's best physical features"

"There's something really awful about the way people dress now.
Everyone looks the same.  Everyone wants to look neutral"

"I think some people would love to be able to make the clothes I make - and of course, I do influence them, but they keep simplifying, and minimalism doesn't quite work"

"I'm not trying to do something different, I'm trying to do the same thing but in a different way"

"The young need discipline and a full bookcase"

"All that self-expression has just created a generation of morons,
hooked on an endless appetite for rubbish"

"I think it is terribly important to have opinions, and to think.
We live in a world of action without thought"

"My manifesto is saying, essentially, every time you learn something, you see something you understand, you are helping to change the world and you are a freedom fighter.  Even if it just means looking a word up in the dictionary you didn't know before"

Photography by Mary McCartney

"Intelligence is composed mostly of imagination and insight,
things that have nothing to do with reason"

"My son has followed fashion since he was a punk.
He and I agree that fashion is about sex"

Photography by Juergen Teller
Vivienne Westwood, Andreas Kronthaler and Pamela Anderson

I thought Sex And The City was supposed to be about cutting-edge fashion and there was nothing remotely memorable or interesting about what I saw...I went to the premiere and left after ten minutes

Photography by Juergen Teller
Vivienne Westwood, Andreas Kronthaler and Pamela Anderson

"I would have loved to have dressed Kate Middleton
but I have to wait until she catches up a bit somewhere with style"

[On husband Andreas]
"If he didn't come home at night I wouldn't care...
I've never been more secure about anybody in my life"

"I am attracted to people who make this effort in knowing what suits them"

"When I'm in the street, the only people I notice,
are usually at least 70 years old, because they have style

"Fashion is very important.
It is life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure,
it is worth doing well"

Vivienne Westwood
(b. 1941)

I am reblogging this clip that I saw earlier this week on Kate's blog as I think it's genius.  God I love Viv! She's genius.

More Friday quotes

I'm having a night in again tonight.  Tomorrow we're off to a Mad Men party.  I'm trying stuff on to see what I can get away with.  Prom dresses and anything from the Fifties aren't exactly my thing (I'd rather wear Westwood) but Kate has kindly given me some ideas.  Have a great evening xxx


Alison Cross said...

I love these quotes - can't make up my mind which one I like the best, possibly about the young and the bookcase!

for her to say - hang on a minute, you don't need to buy stuff all the time is SO subversive in her line of work, it's AMAZING!

VW, you are a national treasure!

Ali x

Christina @ Fashion's Most Wanted said...

Dear Ali, I love her, she's brilliant.

I think she means if you're going to buy something save your money and buy one really good piece rather than a lot of crap. I agree with her. Have a great weekend xx

Miss Peelpants said...


I hope to be just a tiny fraction as fabulous as she is when I'm her age. Potty and fabulous...

And she was so pretty, in that first photo! I never realised how soft her features were...

quintessence said...

One of the greats - don't know if I could choose just one favorite quote but this definitely ranks up there: "The young need discipline and a full bookcase"

Fashionistable said...

I love her too. So far on my travels I have photographed 3 women who have worked for her and they are all very colourful. Her quotes have made me thoughtful about what I wear. Have a great Mad Men evening whatever you decide to wear. Xxxx

MyStyle said...

Hi my dear-I just adored this post Christina, so many wonderful pictures of Dame Vivienne looking so radiant, so very stylish and I think she always looks amazing and awesome, a true style icon and very inspirational indeed. Fabulous quotes too, I try so hard not to buy impulse and rubbish buys, but some slip through the net, but I do try and keep hold of my designer and vintage pieces. Hope you have a fabulous time tomorrow night-you MUST do an outfit post!!! xxx

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Wouldn't it be divine if she did the royal wedding dress?

House Of Scarlet said...

Classic Vivienne- amazing lady check out her fabulous award presenting her-so funny xo

Mondo said...

I'm so glad she's getting the recognition in her lifetime - not after. She is a genius..

I had a few Westwood/McLaren pieces but swapped or binned them in the 80s. Mate of mine Marco P, has got a a ton of then and doubles too. You can also trace Bowie's Ziggy feather cut back to her Let It Rock do..

Also full credit to Vivienne for keeping 430 King's Road going when it could have been Starbucked long ago..

Ruby Tuesday said...

Fabulous post I love Viv Westwood, and yesterday Darren bought me a fabulous dress from her.. I love it.. I have a waist in it.
I had forgotten though just how attractive she was but she really was beautiful when she was young xx

Mondo said...

Love those shoes made from retro London Underground fabric, the pic must be from a London Transport event

sacramento said...

She is always fantastis, always herself.
Thank you for this magnificent post my dear Christina.
Enjoy your weekend.

Young at Heart said...

what a babe!! Have just bought not one but two dresses in the sale.......the dangers of working in the west is totaly gold sparkles, so far am have only worn it round the house but god it makes me feel good!! Hope you're having fun....x

Vintage Vixen said...

Such a gorgeous and totally fabulous woman. I love her quote about being so secure in her relationship it doesn't matter if he doesn't come home. I'm glad I'm not the only person who thinks like that.
I hope I look half as good as her when I'm 68.
Have a fabulous weekend. that perty sounds cool. There's a website here which will inspire you.
Speak soon (I hope) xxxxxxxxxxxx

Make Do Style said...

God Viv is the best love your resume & I remember feeling so cool the day I set foot in Worlds End even as a scrawny school kid xx

HOBAC said...

Just tried on her Alien coat (the red one with the Tibetan tiger pattern) at World's End - as much as I wanted it to it didn't suit. The only thing I have wanted in ages. After all these years, she is still my measure for what is right and good.

House Of Scarlet said...

You can follow me from my tool bar- great blog too xo xo

Anonymous said...

It's good to be different and have your own style. Westwood rocks!

Oh, heard earlier that John Galliano has been suspended from Christian Dior for anti-sematic comments.


Rose&Bird said...

I love Dame Viv - utterly bonkers, but so, so clever! Great pictures as well. It would be amazing if she designed for Kate Middleton x

mag said...

Oh, I love this girl. Vivi rocks!
Her way to see and put in clothes is amazing. She is an artist!
Beautiful post!

K said...

I always learn something from these!

K xx

~JANN ~ said...

Enjoyed this post, she is a remarkable lady. So are you, have a grand weekend

Misfits Vintage said...

Hey Christina, Great post as always - isn't she wonderful? Isn't is fab to have someone in the undustry saying 'yes yes style is great but let's have a consciousness about what we are doing - both producing and consuming'. I love her!

Season One of Mad Men started in 1960 and they do 12 - 18 months per season, so there's definitely no 1950s style required for your Mad Men party! PLEASE hand that camera to someone else and show us some outfit shots - I bet you'll look a million bucks!

Sarah xxx

Terri said...

I love the second to last quote and I wonder, have you ever met Vivienne?

Alex said...

Oh Christina I think is one of your best Friday quotes so far. She's absolutely brilliant. I LOVE the line about the bookcase.

Am considering saving my pennies and starting to invest in some designer stuff. Pearl has encouraged me by her comments that it's not as expensive as I might think, and I really want to start buying better. Fed up of High St crap that goes bobbly and looks rubbish after a few washes - I'd rather spend more on well made things.

Reggie Darling said...

Thanks for the lesson here. I am familiar with VW and her clothes of the 1990s and knew about her marriage to MM and all that, but that was about it. You've shed a lot more light on this fascinating creature. Looks to me to be a force of nature! I lament the death of MM, a genius and whose music I spent many, many hours (and many late nights in clubs) listening to and dancing to. Must go get his "Paris" CD out know and give it a spin...

Ms. Moon said...

I am loving your blog. I have always been fascinated with fashion even though I am the least fashionable person alive. I settle into my clothes and keep them forever but I love the way people express themselves with what they put on their bodies. We are animals who can choose our coloring, our fur, our claws. It is endlessly amazing to me- another form of self-expression and I thank you for sharing your take on it.

Penny Dreadful said...

For some reason she has never 'gelled' with me as a person, but I think she is an absolute genius as a designer. Still one of the most original and fresh designers out there xx

Perdita said...

I love Viv. I always expressed confidence through distinctive looks, at a time (the 90s) when poor quality pop psychology was telling us that to look different was a sign of insecurity. Her quotations pretty much sum up my attitude to the 'wear sack cloth and you are natural/sexy/secure etc'' nonsense.

La Dama said...

I adore Vivienne..she is a fire originality

Northern Snippet said...

She's brilliant,wouldn't it have been great if Kate Middleton had gone to her for the dress.She could have done something totally amazing :)

Slim Paley said...

She manages to remain "an original" after all these years...
very inspirational!
We could use more like her on this side of The Pond :)

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I love Viviennne. She's mad great, and she hasn't fucked her face all up with a bunch of hideous plastic surgery. She's still lovely.

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