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20 November 2014
Vivienne​ Westwood 
by Vivienne Westwood and Ian Kelly.
Picador, 463 pp., £25, September 2014, 978 1 4472 5412 6
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... Some time​ in 1979, after the death of Sid Vicious and before the enthronement of Margaret Thatcher, VivienneWestwood ‘lost interest’ in punk. She and her lover Malcolm McLaren had been at the heart of the British version: they had dreamed up much of the look, the attitude and the lyrics, though not the sound. A ...

Mother Punk

Zoë Heller: Vivienne Westwood

10 December 1998
Vivienne WestwoodAn Unfashionable Life 
by Jane Mulvagh.
HarperCollins, 402 pp., £19.99, September 1998, 0 00 255625 1
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... In 1972, VivienneWestwood, 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 ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: What Writers Wear

26 July 2017
... has followed writers more often than the other way round. Beauvoir inspired the Beatniks and Joe Orton’s ‘rough casualness’, the heavy jeans with deep cuffs and tight white T-shirts, influenced VivienneWestwood and Malcolm McLaren to call their King’s Road shop Sex after an entry in Orton’s diary: ‘sex is the only way to infuriate them.’ They stocked a suitably lurid Prick Up Your Ears T ...

At Tate Liverpool

Peter Campbell: Gustav Klimt

3 July 2008
... where the timeless tends to be labelled ‘classic’. It is not a matter of price: plimsolls and espadrilles are as timeless as the welted shoe made on your own last in St James’s, the shoes VivienneWestwood models have been known to fall off are stylish. The products of the Wiener Werkstätte were that above all. Hoffmann’s coffee pot, like many traditional ones, has a handle that sticks out ...

Sempre Armani

John Harvey: Men’s fashion

7 May 1998
The Man of Fashion: Male Peacocks and Perfect Gentlemen 
by Colin McDowell.
Thames and Hudson, 208 pp., £29.95, October 1997, 0 500 01797 2
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... cigarette) the appropriate smoulder of masculinity. On the catwalk itself – and even more in menswear than in women’s – there seems to be an element of aesthetic clowning. One men’s jacket by VivienneWestwood is an exaggerated male torso made of tinted pearls, while another is made of coloured ostrich feathers. There is a man in a plastic blue and yellow space jacket, with fins instead of cuffs ...
19 December 1991
England’s dreaming: The Sex Pistols and Punk Rock 
by Jon Savage.
Faber, 602 pp., £17.50, October 1991, 0 571 13975 2
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... east is the local Conservative Association ... The corner on which it stands is the first major deviation in the King’s Road. The space being discussed is the shop that was to become Sex, where VivienneWestwood invented the Destroy T-shirt, where Malcolm McLaren conspired with his cronies and first met Johnny Rotten. Sex went on to become Seditionaries, and is still World’s End, the shop with the ...

Aunt Twackie’s Bazaar

Andy Beckett: Seventies Style

19 August 2010
70s Style and Design 
by Dominic Lutyens and Kirsty Hislop.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £24.90, November 2009, 978 0 500 51483 2
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... that some of punk’s key figures had been trying to make it for a long time, and had been members of a succession of youth tribes themselves. There is a telling photo here of Malcolm McLaren and VivienneWestwood in 1971, posing in their first shop, young and hungry-looking and dressed for attention. But it would be another five years before they became famous, for stage-managing the rise of the Sex ...

Killing Stripes

Christopher Turner: Suits

31 May 2017
Sex and Suits: The Evolution of Modern Dress 
by Anne Hollander.
Bloomsbury, reissue, 158 pp., £19.99, August 2016, 978 1 4742 5065 8
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The Suit: Form, Function and Style 
by Christopher Breward.
Reaktion, 240 pp., £18, May 2016, 978 1 78023 523 3
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... much emulated in the City and on Wall Street. Fashion, Breward emphasises, is always provocative, endlessly recycling the aesthetic challenges of the fringe into mainstream culture. Paul Smith and VivienneWestwood introduced the mod and punk to high-end tailoring; Ozwald Boateng and Richard James brought peacock colours and a new, sharp swagger back to Savile Row; Tom Ford and Christopher Bailey ...

At the V&A

Marina Warner: Alexander McQueen

3 June 2015
... surgical limb designers and makers of medical braces. ‘Demolish the rules, but keep the tradition’ was another of McQueen’s maxims. Customising was a watchword of punk, with Malcolm McLaren and VivienneWestwood the subject of a more recent show at the Met also created by Andrew Bolton. Customising is a form of bespoke and bespoke relies on those trades that go back to the Middle Ages and are ...

I’m a Cahunian

Adam Mars-Jones: Claude Cahun

2 August 2018
Never Anyone But You 
by Rupert Thomson.
Corsair, 340 pp., £18.99, June 2018, 978 1 4721 5350 0
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... from 1927. Cahun played with gender roles in her self-portraits, most obviously when she appeared in them shaven-headed. For a woman to cut off her long hair was still a transgressive act when VivienneWestwood did it, at Malcolm McLaren’s urging, half a century later, and Westwood stopped short of shaving her eyebrows, as Cahun did, to remove cues of expressiveness we take for granted. The ...

More Pain, Better Sentences

Adam Mars-Jones: Satire and St Aubyn

7 May 2014
Lost for Words 
by Edward St Aubyn.
Picador, 261 pp., £12.99, May 2014, 978 0 330 45422 3
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Books 
by Charlie Hill.
Tindal Street, 192 pp., £6.99, November 2013, 978 1 78125 163 8
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... isn’t the point of this garment, then how does it drape, how is it cut and shaped? Lost for Words is a curious production, both off-the-peg and strangely skewed, like some sweatshop version of VivienneWestwood. There are jokey names (Page and Turner for a publisher, John Elton for an American literary agent with a disfiguring hair transplant) and passages of broad pastiche, such as this from a ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2012

3 January 2013
... about flying I think I still prefer the Italian approach.23 May. A party for HMQ at the Royal Academy where around six we join a straggling queue of notables, the actors the most obvious, though VivienneWestwood is her usual unobtrusive self. Talk to various people in the queue, one of whom seems to know my plays well but then congratulates me on my paintings of trees – she’s the first of three ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2011

5 January 2012
... the campers outside St Paul’s. I’m mildly surprised by this because, though I’m wholly sympathetic, I don’t normally figure on any roster of letter-signers or rally-rousers. One who does is VivienneWestwood who, the following day, addresses the throng from the steps of the cathedral. We agree that reading is more my line and I’m given a time for this afternoon. However, when I arrive, I find ...

Literary Friction

Jenny Turner: Kathy Acker’s Ashes

18 October 2017
After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography 
by Chris Kraus.
Allen Lane, 352 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 1 63590 006 4
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... anything about the South Bank Show that April, but I do remember the lifesize Acker cut-outs in high street bookshops, and clocking Acker’s artful and expensive-looking clothes (Comme des Garçons, VivienneWestwood): some sort of child actor sock-puppet arrangement, I suspected, with Malcolm McLaren lurking in the background, an Annabella Lwin of literature – and wasn’t Westwood dressing everybody ...

Ghosting

Andrew O’Hagan: Julian Assange

6 March 2014
... about the music or the fact that the kids will want different things from the adults. There was a lame auction of stuff Julian had in prison, too egotistical I thought, and, again, a little off-key. VivienneWestwood was waving her arms around and bidding. Jennifer Robinson, the lawyer who assisted Mark Stephens, and I had a brief chat and she was literally rolling her eyes about what had been happening ...

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