Fashion & Freedom

Manchester Art Gallery

Fashion &
Freedom

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood began designing in 1971, along with her then partner Malcolm McLaren. They used their shop at 430 Kings Road, London, to showcase their ideas and designs, changing not only the name of the shop but also the décor. In 1976, Westwood and McLaren defined the street culture of punk with Seditionaries.

Gold Label Autumn-Winter 2006/07 Innocent Runway show look #39, re-made 2016
Jumpsuit: Printed iridescent sequin on silk
Cardigan: Wool
Shoes: Clomper Slave Sandals in brown croc embossed leather

“Our rotten financial system creates poverty for the many, riches for the few. We have a war economy. Almost everyone supported the First World War and the press must take responsibility for the nationalistic propaganda that helped to create this terrible ethos. We still have the same system in place – a war economy. We now know that this system – and the arms trade – helps create climate change – we are facing mass extinction. Fight the system and replace it with a green economy.”

Vivienne Westwood Gold Label Autumn-Winter 2006/07
Innocent Runway show look #39, re-made 2016. Photography: Jez Tozer

In 1981, Westwood showed her first catwalk presentation at Olympia in London. She turned to traditional Savile Row tailoring techniques, using British fabrics and 17th and 18th century art for inspiration. In 1989, she met Andreas Kronthaler, who would later become her husband and design partner, as well as Creative Director of the brand. In 2006, her contribution to British Fashion was officially recognised when she was appointed Dame of the British Empire by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

With a design career spanning four decades, Vivienne Westwood is now revered as one of the most influential fashion designers and activists in the world. She continues to capture the imagination, and raise awareness of environmental and human rights issues.

Illustration courtesy the designer
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