Vivienne Westwood: a funky fashion statement
Lola Saab looks at Dame Vivienne Westwoods
designs through the 1980s at a new exhibition at New Yorks
Fashion Institute of Technology
MAIN PHOTOGRAPH BY MAURICE LUCKETT/FASHION
highly innovative creations are more than just fashion statements:
they are also creative works of art, highly original, modern and
daring. With an ensemble of colours and beautiful materials, they
all wonderfully come to life.
Westwood allows people to step out of a considerably
conventional look, permitting the wearer to define their personalities.
She virtually transformed the funky and punk look into fashionable
Born Vivienne Isabel Swire, now Dame Vivienne Westwood,
she is a British designer who delightfully creates pleasingly fun
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in
New York is currently presenting an exhibition on view (from March
8 through April 2, 2011). The exhibition, entitled Vivienne Westwood,
198089, will briefly cover Westwood’s collections,
career and ideas throughout a decade.
The first fashion show featured is her 1981 Pirate
Collection. The 80s draw attention to the beginning of
the designer’s successful career in fashion. Westwood is credited
as being the founder of punk fashion. She was one of the first New
Romantic designers who highlighted individuality. As years passed,
her fashion creations evolved, with her being first labelled a
street stylist, eventually becoming a high-end fashion designer.
During the 90s, she added some French touches to her work.
The exhibition has more than forty objects on display
including clothing, pictures, videos and other items; they fully
allow spectators to comprehend Westwood’s concepts at the
time. The co-curators, Emma Kadar-Penner and Audrey Chaney, are
both FIT graduates who made this exhibition
Entering the exhibition, the spectators walk through
a hallway with a number of objects on display, including magazines
One of the many objects that attracts the eye while
walking through the exhibition is the Rocking Horse, a pair of boots
from the autumn 1986 Harris Tweed collection. Black leather
material and wooden platforms combine creatively together. With
the high platforms and the no-heel motif, the boots practically
defy gravity. One can only imagine wearing shoes where the wearer
basically walks on their tiptoes without a heel for support. In
2009, similar designs were featured in a number of fashion shows.
A two-piece male ensemble, from the spring 1989 Civilizade
collection, represents the designer’s approach to form a classy
outlook for men; a yellow and red cotton vest with matching knee-high
Westwood still sustains the funky and cool look every season. Various
collections range from models with wild hair to very bold and intensified
make-up. She is a designer and an artist who forms overly outgoing
outfits as well as stylish fashion statements.
This April marks the designer’s 70th birthday. With her hip
appearance and orange hair, Westwood represents the freedom to express
personal elegance and fashion.
Lola Saab is Paris editor of Lucire.