Friday, May 20, 2005

Atypical Lady

As much as she is a fringe character, she's also an amazing woman, who's managed to survive more than 3 decades of cruel working conditions in the fashion industry. Always delivering totally unique, ground breaking collections with little or no support, she made it through the tough years. Her colourful life is highly intriguing, but it's not until studying her biography we get to appreciate the full extent to her amazing life. Today she is a highly respected hot spot celebrity, who's chosen Prince of Goth, Mr Marilyn Manson to feature her most recent men's collection. Who else could this be but the grand dame and Creative Director Vivienne Westwood OBE?

1970. Vivienne Westwood and her partner, Malcolm McLaren, open the shop Let It Rock at 430 Kings Road, Chelsea in London, as a showcase for their ideas. The shop sells leather clothing with zips and chains, tee shirts with slogans and pornographic images.

1976. Punk style is born. The band The Sex Pistols choose to wear clothes from Westwood's shop at Kings Road, for their first gig.

1981. Vivienne Westwood delivers her first runway, "The Pirate Collection", presented at Olympia in London. The collection includes full sleeved frilled pirate shirts made from luxury fabrics. Copy cats steal her ideas of the theatrical brocade, hussar style jackets of velvet and silk. The shop at 430 King's Road is once again redecorated and renamed World's End, which is as it remains to this day.

1983. The collaboration with Malcolm McLaren ends. Westwood presents the collection "Witches". The same year, she introduces training shoes on the cat walk.

1987. Westwood brings out "Harris Tweed" - a collection based on traditional fit of English tailoring. Tweed and velvet are key attributes worn with fine knitwear twin-sets and 18th Century corsets.

1992. Westwood is awarded the OBE by Her Majesty the Queen.

1998. Her first scent Boudoir is launched.

2003. Along with Kate Moss and other celebrities, she joins the exhibition "On the other side of the lens" at London Tram Studios, to exhibit their own personal photographs. A year later, Victoria and Albert Museum in London is putting up their largest exhibition ever, covering some of Westwood's work (image below).

2005. Marilyn Manson features her men's collection - a move that clearly fits like a glove. Westwood starts up a campaign for liberation of people who have been wrongly imprisoned by the FBI...

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