To define theimpact of a stylist in the history of fashion, it is not enough to take into consideration its avant-garde and innovative style, nor even design and flawless tailoring quality, however important: to become an icon of the industry you have to go far beyond it, take root and mark an era, a generational change or a social metamorphosis, supporting these processes – and often defining them – precisely through fashion creations. And the one who, since the 1970s, has rightfully earned a place in the firmament of the most iconic fashion designers, is Vivienne Westwood. That tomorrow, April 8, will blow out 80 candles.
Advocate – in fact – of punk fashion, activist and environmentalist, the British designer is perhaps the last, true rebel still alive, always ready to strongly defend the individual and collective battles to be sustained and carried on. With her subversive spirit, Vivienne Westwood began her own revolution in the fashion world in the early 1970s, when she opened her first boutique in London, Let it Rock, with the then boyfriend and business partner Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols: a magical place, in a sense, which each was baptized with a new name and which became a real point of reference for young punks. In fact, in her shop, in addition to a selection of garments, accessories and objects inspired by the subculture of the moment, Vivienne Westwood presented her first fashion collections, progressively defining the aesthetics and codes of punk and carrying forward the message of this youth movement: the need to move away from past generations, in the values and ways of expressing them. That is, through a bold and provocative style that took up fetish clothing and some BDSM details, mixed with more traditional fabrics and garments such as tartan.
Thanks to her fashion, the designer inspired a series of social changes from the beginning, continually questioning the establishment: a basic concept which, despite the numerous changes undertaken by Vivienne Westwood, and which over the decades have affected her brand, has always remained solid and at the basis of her DNA: from Pirates, the first, real fashion show of 1981 with which the designer began to move away from naked and raw punk, at the official entry, a few years later, in the calendar of Paris Fashion Week, inspired with irony by French history in dialogue with that of the Kingdom United. Going through all the fashion collections that over the years have become the spokespersons of initiatives of political importance, such as the referendum for the independence of Scotland, or the fight against climate change. A noteworthy career and, in general, an existential path, which we wanted to celebrate by recalling some of the most memorable moments (in the gallery) of these 80 years. Which, on closer inspection, seem to belong to someone who he has already lived more than one life.