The World cries out for Vivienne Westwood, Fashion’s last Rebel.
Nonconformist, rebel, activist. On Thursday 29 December, the world said goodbye to Vivienne Westwood, the Punk fashion pioneer who in her prime and until the end of her days fought to save our Planet, raise people’s awareness of animals and spur them on to conscientious buying:
“Buy less, choose better and make what you buy last longer. Focus on quality, not quantity.”
Born in Tintwistle, County Derbyshire, in 1941 into a blue-collar family, she began her career as a self-taught designer at only 17, which would lead her, not long after, to open her first store at 430 King’s Road: the legendary ‘SEX’ Boutique.
Here, in collaboration with Malcolm McLaren of the Sex Pistols, she would cultivate the carnivorous plants of British Punk, sprouting that controversial subculture that would be short-lived, but profoundly impactful on British society and the world.
With black leather, chains and ripped fabrics held up as best she could with safety pins, Vivienne tore British respectability to shreds, exploring all the possibilities of style with her unconventional baggage, dressing generations of rebellious youth, first with leather and studs, then with corsets, paniers and garters.
Vivienne leaves behind a message to cherish yourself, nothing else. To celebrate one’s authenticity through the ritual-manifesto of the clothes we wear. She, who fought against global pollution, animal rights and gender inequality until and even at the point of death, represents one of the last bastions of the rebellion that becomes fashion: a contemporary interpretation of our society through timeless, iconic clothes.
His inexhaustible combative energy has expressed itself in every possible way: from public statements to demonstrations to mobilize public opinion. Memorable is her ‘Climate Revolution’ collection of 2021, accompanied by the drafting of a Manifesto called ‘I want you to help me save the world, but I can’t do it alone’, with which she wanted to mobilize international attention on the theme of ecology and spur the new generations to save the planet.
In this editorial, we retrace the most memorable phases of her astonishing career, through the significant collections, thanks to which she achieved extraordinary recognition, earning the respect and appreciation of the entire world, as well as the title of Dame of the British Empire.