The extraordinary life story of British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has been told for the first and the only time. Commonly known as the Grand Dame of fashion, co-founder of Punk, activist, global brand, outspoken campaigner, a true living legend and grandmother, Vivienne Westwood has written her personal memoir with her unique voice, unexpected perspective and passionate honesty. Told in all its fascination and glory, ‘Vivienne Westwood’ is written in partnership with actor and esteemed historical biographer Ian Kelly, however this is her story, her authorised biography.
“The living deserve respect, the dead deserve the truth; Ian and I are working together on this and I am excited that this will be my story, the story nobody ever did before.”
The first page begins with Ian Kelly’s introduction to the world of fashion behind the scenes at the Vivienne Westwood Gold Label show in Paris, a reference to the year Kelly spent interviewing and shadowing Westwood. However the duration of the book focuses on Westwood’s take on life with legendary Sex Pistols Malcolm McLaren, their dysfunctional, toxic relationship and creative partnership, as well as how Vivienne Westwood turned from revolutionary into founder of a global fashion house throughout her 5 decades of experience and accomplishments. Kelly documents Westwood’s co-creation of the British punk movement and the red-haired, pale-faced (courtesy of talcum powder) situationist who helped change the course of 20th-century fashion and music.
Both her name and brand are recognised around the world, having being honoured for her achievements and success with an OBE and being made Dame. Whilst in the UK Westwood has attained National Treasure status as the nation’s favourite, fearless female icon as well as one of the industry’s most famous and rebellious designers.
Vivienne Westwood believes at the grand age of 73, the record is to be set straight once and for all. From the child of working class parents to the mother of punk, Vivienne Westwood’s fashion career has taken her from the artfully stained T-shirts of the punk era to the psychologist of fashion, exploring the entrenched reasons why Westwood felt so drawn to clothes. Westwood’s life is said to be the perfect way to look at the influences that have reshaped post-war Britain.
“There is an extraordinary story here, offering a person-shaped keyhole on British culture, on modern feminism and of course, on fashion.”
Dame Vivienne Westwood gained notoriety, and then fame, as the wife of late Malcolm McLaren, when they open their clothes shop, SEX, on Kings Road in London. In 1981 Westwood and McLaren broke up leaving Westwood to begin designing and sewing solo; fusing traditional tartans and tweeds with historical designs. Since then her unorthodox sense of style has led the transformation of the UK fashion industry from an international backwater into a major player.
‘Vivienne Westwood’ by Vivienne Westwood and Ian Kelly is now available to buy.