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Posts Tagged ‘Vivienne Westwood’

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It’s funny how clothes can be so emotional. They make you able to face the world in a spectacular way. 

Vivienne Westwood, British fashion designer and activist.

There’s a documentary on Vivienne Westwood just released and now showing at the Opera Plaza theater on Van Ness in San Francisco. But I have read that the designer is unhappy with the film, directed by Lorna Tucker. Apparently there’s way too much time spent on fashion and not enough focus on Westwood’s activism. She tweeted earlier this year that she does not want to be associated with the film.

Ah well, that’s too bad but it won’t stop me from seeing it.

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist is showing at the Opera Plaza through June 29th, 2018.

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McLaren and Westwood back in the days of Punk Rock.

McLaren and Westwood back in the days of Punk Rock.

I made clothes that looked like ruins. I created something new by destroying the old. This wasn’t fashion as a commodity, this was fashion as an idea.

– Malcolm McLaren (1946-2010), British fashion designer (of sorts) and manager of the Sex Pistols.

I read this quote in Vivienne Westwood’s biography, Vivienne Westwood written by Westwood and author Ian Kelly (Picador, 2014).

I’m intrigued by the notion of creating something new by “destroying” the old. Kind of goes against my grain given my appreciation for all things vintage. But I can understand why, in post WWII Britain after years of bleakness and austerity, young people would want not just to break away from standard conventions and fashions but also to erase them. Creating something new from something old for them was active, it was making a statement. I think intent behind fashion choices is always more interesting.

McLaren was Westwood’s partner in life and in business. The two set up shop in the early 70s on King’s Road in London, at first selling revival 50s rock clothing and record albums. As the times changed so did the couple, who became central figures in the Punk Rock scene. My impression from the book is that McLaren influenced and inspired Westwood but she was the real worker and creator. She went on to develop a fashion empire, without McLaren.

I wonder if McLaren’s comment was a stab at Westwood (he was not above doing that). No matter her background in punk, she is a commercial fashion powerhouse now and certainly fashion for her is a commodity –  a big one.

More on Westwood and her fashion empire in an upcoming post.

 

 

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Sofia Hedstrom with Vivienne Westwood, who wrote the forward to Fashion Manifesto.

Sofia Hedström with Vivienne Westwood, who wrote the forward to Fashion Manifesto.

The entire 21st century has been, so far, characterized by trend hysteria, and throwaway chain store fashion has us consuming clothing just as we gorge ourselves on fast food. Week after week, we are driven on by an insatiable hunger to stuff our already bulging closets with the latest fashions, and with each and every trendy addiction – which consequently hangs there sullenly with the price tag still intact – a glimpse of clothing common sense vanishes. The dime-a-dozen ‘I want it yesterday’ fashion industry has caused us stress and depleted our souls, with the outcome that many of us have simply lost our individual sense of style.

Sofia Hedström fashion journalist. This quote is the opening paragraph from the introduction to her book Fashion Manifesto: The Guide for the Style Savvy (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013).

After a full career as a fashion journalist both in her native Sweden and in New York City, Ms. Hedström found herself a bit sickened from fashion overindulgence prompted by the industry. So, she went on a year-long shopping fast and wrote a book describing the experience.

(This post is not meant to be a review but, this is a great book. Read it!)

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Vivienne Westwood London Fashion Week 2012.

After her show at London Fashion Week (February 17-22, 2012), Vivienne Westwood spoke her mind on  the state of modern fashion.

Everybody looks like clones … We are so conformist, nobody is thinking. We are all sucking up stuff. We have been trained to be consumers and we are all-consuming far too much. What I’m saying is buy less and choose well.

I think what Vivienne is talking about is style. What people lack is individual style. They might be decked out in the latest designer must-haves, but there’s no personal touch, no pizzazz. Take a look at what Vivienne is wearing in the photo above : a t-shirt, baggy trousers, and platform shoes with colorful socks – that is individual style.

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Vivienne Westwood Red Label Spring 2012. Image: Yannis Vlamos/GoRunway

Even as a fashion writer it’s difficult to think spring when we’re just entering fall. But for you my dear readers, I endured the struggle and took a peek at the spring 2012 fashion shows. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  1. Continuation of color and prints.
  2. The 1920s is favored with dropped waist evening dresses and lots o’ beads.
  3. The tuxedo is a big look updated with wide-leg pants.
  4. Pencil skirts are still hot but with a new twist – draped.
  5. Cropped tops. (Back again?)
  6. Athletic fabrics, especially mesh.
  7. White and more white in lace, eyelet, and sheer fabrics.

Designers that spoke to me:

I always enjoy Ralph Lauren for his classic American designs. He continues to find inspiration in the 1920s. Sheer fabric dresses and skirts in subtle pastels. Floral scarves, cloche hats, lacy cardis and three-piece suits. Super palazzo pants paired with super platform shoes. Beaded gowns for evening in white and silver. Both day and evening wear are fabulously elegant but without the fuss.

Vivienne Westwood is another favorite of mine. I admire her tailoring and unexpected use of plaids. For the most part this spring season Westwood avoids bright colors and instead keeps to creams, pale blues, and black. She shows a lot of draped dresses, which really, only a very tall woman can wear. But there are some rockin’ plaid skirts with a flounce and the most unstructured suit I’ve ever seen – straight skirt,  jacket has draped collar, and belted at the waist.  (Pictured above.)

Marc Jacobs is all about layers, fringe and movement for spring. Cropped jackets with fringe at the hems paired with sheath dresses embellished with silicone fringe. (Reminds me a bit of Paco Rabanne, who in the 1960s designed a line of clothing using materials such as metal and plastic.) The fringe and iridescent fabrics sway and shine with every movement for a dramatic effect. Sixties style coats – short with sleeves to the elbow – are the signature silhouette. Smart bowling bags and gym totes in fun shades of green and gold. Jacobs wasn’t the only designer to show thin socks with pumps. This is a look that repeats itself season after season, but has yet to translate onto the streets.

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