Vivienne Westwood's clever use of historical references and her unwavering anti-establishment attitude make her one of Britain's most original and celebrated fashion designers. Typically, she here combines an eighteenth century style print with a classic man's shirt. Originally used as furnishing fabrics in France, these prints known as 'Toules de Jouy' generally featured monochrome pastoral scenes printed on a pale ground.
Born in 1941, and very much a self-taught designer, Westwood began her career in the late 1960s on London's King's Road, where she and partner Malcolm McLaren sold their designs in a series of eye-grabbing shops, called respectively, Let It Rock (1970), Too Fast To Live, Too Young To Die (1972), Sex (1974), Seditionaries (1976), and World's End (1981). Westwood's collaboration with McLaren during the 1970s punk movement brought the two of them national notoriety, as their bondage trousers and gritty t-shirt designs promoted their subversive image. Since 1982, Vivienne Westwood has shown her catwalk collections under her own name. Her innovative haute couture and ready-to-wear designs demonstrate a unique talent for turning tradition on its head, and her use of traditional fabrics, techniques and historical imagery is balanced with expert craftsmanship. She has become the "grande dame" of British couture, as symbolised by the 2004 retrospective exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Full item descriptions:
"shirt" [1996.59], Westwood, Vivienne
"suit" [1994.90/3], Westwood, Vivienne
"evening dress" [2004.59], Westwood, Vivienne
"hotpants suit" [2004.26], Westwood, Vivienne
"suit" [2004.58], Westwood, Vivienne