The small, big fashion stories: the time that Vivienne Westwood gave scandal to Queen Elizabeth

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The story we want to tell you this week expresses the spirit of its protagonist in a sensational story. Let’s talk about Vivienne Westwood, British designer, advocate of punk and world fashion icon, and about that time in which showed up at Buckingham Palace without underwear. Or better, of those two times.

The first took place in 1992, when the rebellious-hearted designer gave birth to one of the many legendary moments that, in fact, contributed to making her a (counter) institution: Westwood received the high honor of an OBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for her work in the British fashion industry directly from Queen Elizabeth, who annually awards honorary royal titles to figures who have made a significant impact in their field of expertise.

And it is precisely on this very formal occasion that the designer showed up without underwear.

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Just a couple of years after shocking the whole world on the cover of Tatler, dove he had taken the form of the then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Vivienne Westwood decided to challenge the protocols once again: when she showed up at Buckingham Palace to receive her OBE, the designer wore a very elegant gray suit, consisting of a tailored jacket and a wide long skirt, combined with a beret of the same shade and with contrasting white shirt, with an asymmetrical and voluminous collar. At the exit, in front of a horde of photographers, the designer began to play with her skirt while she was immortalized, revealing her flesh-colored tights and the obvious absence of underwear: “I heard that the queen remained amused by the photos “she later declared al The Guardian. But this, as we have anticipated, it wasn’t the only time Westwood decided not to wear underwear in a real context.

Over the years, there have been numerous designers chosen by Queen Elizabeth for their exceptional artistic and cultural contributions, and recently we have seen Ralph Lauren become the first American designer to receive the title of honorary knight: however, the designer will never be officially “Sir” Ralph Lauren, because only those who possess the higher rank, namely that of Knight Commander or Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, can officially add “sir” or “dame” to his name. Detail of no small importance that Dame Vivienne Westwood managed to get in 2006, despite the audacity shown fourteen years earlier than the strict royal protocols. Which he decided to violate once again.

This time, the designer recruited the royal honor from Prince Charles, wearing a black polka dot dress with a matching cape and hat. To the question of the Daily Mail on whether or not to wear underwear, Westwood replied at the time, “Don’t ask me. It is the same answer. I don’t wear them with clothes. When I wear pants I could… and they are my husband’s silk boxers ». A subversive outfit also in the general choice of garments: «It’s a fantastic dress with a kind of net stole. My clothes reflect my political sentiment »she continued during the interview« I should be a bit like a Che Guevara, an urban guerrilla, with my cap ». A woman with a scarlet “spirit”, undoubtedly, give him ideals… to the ribbon of honor received by the English royalty.

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