Wednesday, June 18, 2008
DESIGNER PROFILE >>> VIVIENNE WESTWOOD
Like no other fashion designer, Vivienne Westwood single-handedly changed the way rock stars dressed. And in many ways, she’s responsible for the look of punk and New Wave. She and then-partner Malcolm McLaren (manager for the Sex Pistols) opened their Let It Rock boutique in London’s Chelsea in 1971, and it served as a platform and safe haven for the burgeoning punk scene. Acts like the Pistols and the New York Dolls wore her signature look—skintight leather with tons of zippers—like a uniform. And though she may no longer work the strictly punk ethos, Westwood still infuses her ready-to-wear, officially launched in 1981, with plenty of edge. Unafraid of ripped hems and torn seams, she renders everything with Saville Row–worthy tailoring and incredible technique.
Prim punksters who love a strong Victorian line.
The English-born Westwood studied at the University of Westminster after which she became a primary-school teacher. She taught until McLaren decided to open Let It Rock, pulling Westwood down the punk path that would eventually lead her to fashion stardom. She still owns the shop, which is now called World’s End, where she sells her signature line as well as her punkier, younger collection Anglomania. In 2004, the prestigious Victoria & Albert Museum hosted a retrospective of Westwood’s career.