Vivienne Westwood first entered the scene of British fashion in the 1970s at the height of the punk-rock era, and her name is still synonymous with punk fashion today. Her boutique, “SEX” on London’s King’s road sold outfits involving tartan fabric, zippers, safety pins and spiked dog collars to an eclectic mix of clientèle. Westwood created these outfits in collaboration with then husband Malcolm McLaren, who later became manager of the punk rock band the Sex Pistols. She still sells her label from the store today, which has been renamed World’s End.
One of Britain’s most iconic fashion designers, Vivienne Westwood has designed for several high profile clients including British royalty – Princess Eugenie wore 3 different Westwood outfits to the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011. Her designs were also featured in the 2008 Sex and the City movie, in which the character Carrie Bradshaw wears a fairytale Westwood gown to her wedding. A knee-length version of this dress sold out within hours when it was introduced on NET-A-PORTER.com.
As well as being famous in the world of fashion, Westwood is frequently outspoken on political issues including climate change and human rights, often using her clothing as a vehicle to express her opinions. In 2005 she designed a range of T-shirts with the civil rights group, Liberty, which featured the slogan “I AM NOT A TERRORIST.”
Here is our pick of top 10 Vivienne Westwood Quotes:
1. “My aim is to make the poor look rich and the rich look poor.”
2.”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.” – from her Active Resistance to Propaganda manifesto.
3. On London: “I love this city and its culture. I want to encourage people to love art and believe that culture can save the world. Culture is about people’s outlook on the world and along with art, is the anchor that holds us together as a people and gives life greater meaning.”
4. “Sometimes you need to transport your idea to an empty landscape and then populate it with fantastic looking people.”
5. “You have a more interesting life if you wear impressive clothes.”
6. On the concept of punk as a subject for a major museum exhibition: “I think it’s ridiculous. I’m also rather bored with American journalists. Every time punk comes up, they think of me as a kind of trophy. ‘Oh, we know Vivienne, she’s great.’ And then you hear nothing from them in between. You know, America is an isolated territory, with all those editors who think they are so powerful. Mostly, I think they are rubbish.”
7. “The sexiest people are thinkers. Nobody’s interested in somebody who’s just vain with a hole in their head, talking about the latest thing — there is no latest thing. It’s all rubbish.”
8. “Art should never be sociological; it has got to be timeless. It’s got to be your vision and how you can represent the world you see.”
9. “You’ve got to invest in the world, you’ve got to read, you’ve got to go to art galleries, you’ve got to find out the names of plants. You’ve got to start to love the world and know about the whole genius of the human race. We’re amazing people.”
10. “It’s a philosophy of life. A practice. If you do this, something will change, what will change is that you will change, your life will change, and if you can change you, you can perhaps change the world.”