Mother Punk

Zoë Heller

  • Vivienne Westwood: An Unfashionable Life by Jane Mulvagh
    HarperCollins, 402 pp, £19.99, September 1998, ISBN 0 00 255625 1

In 1972, Vivienne Westwood, a 31-year-old mother of two, sat down at the kitchen table of her council flat in Clapham and began decorating white T-shirts to sell at Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die, the shop at 430 King’s Road owned and run by her boyfriend, Malcolm McLaren. Westwood’s previous T-shirts, which bore screenprint images of rock’n’roll idols and slogans like ‘Vive la Rock’, had not sold well. The last lot had ended up being converted into knickers. Her new ones were intended to make a stronger statement. Some were decorated with marabou feathers and little plastic windows on the breasts into which pictures of pin-up girls were inserted. Others sported two zippers allowing exposure of the nipples. The most memorable proved to be the bone T-shirts:

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