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Lucire: Fashion

Vivienne Westwood, photographed by Maurice Luckett Ever the show-woman Vivienne Westwood on the catwalk after another successful London Fashion Week collection in February.


Vivienne Westwood: a funky fashion statement

Lola Saab looks at Dame Vivienne Westwood’s designs through the 1980s at a new exhibition at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology



VIVIENNE WESTWOODS 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 and trendy.

Born Vivienne Isabel Swire, now Dame Vivienne Westwood, she is a British designer who delightfully creates pleasingly fun pieces.

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, 1980–89, 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 possible.

Entering the exhibition, the spectators walk through a hallway with a number of objects on display, including magazines and pictures.

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 pants.

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.



Rocking boots

Men’s two-piece ensemble

Statue of Liberty

Woman’s jacket and skirt ensemble
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