Not Just a Label – Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood Red Label show, Autumn Winter 2011, London Fashion Week, London, Britain - 20 Feb 2011westwood 3 westwood 2 westwood 1Vivienne Westwood was one of the integral cogs in the fast paced machine that was punk. Before Westwood became the institution that we all know and love, she was a factory worker, mother and wife. Vivienne had briefly studied fashion and silversmithing at The Harrow School of Art for the impressively short stint of one term – but quickly concluded that the art world was no place for a working class girl like herself. Westwood pursued her passion in her own time by making jewellery and selling it from a stall on our very own Portobello Road. She got a stable job in a factory, studied to be a primary school teacher and settled down to start the rest of her life.

This all changed when Malcolm McLaren came on the scene. He led her into the underground of the late 1960’s, lectured her on the political power of art and liberated her creative desires from the bondage of working class conformity. McLaren opened Vivienne’s eyes to the creative world around her and together they set up shop at No. 430 King’s Road. Their boutique was a hub for the punk movement. It ran under many different names starting life as ‘Let It Rock’ and transforming to ‘Sex’, ‘Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die’ and ‘Seditionaries’ finally settling on its current title ‘Worlds End’.

The world dubbed Westwood and McLaren the godparents of punk and that’s exactly what they were. Westwood created clothes inspired by bikers, fetishists and prostitutes. She championed BDSM fashion, bondage gear, safety pins, razor blades, and bicycle or loo chains on clothing and spiked dog collars for jewellry, as well as outrageous make-up and hair. During this period, McLaren became manager of the Sex Pistols, the band at the forefront of the punk revolution. The influential pair garnered attention as the controversial band became infamous whilst wearing Westwood’s designs.

“I was messianic about punk, seeing if one could put a spoke in the system in some way.” – Vivienne Westwood

When punk died, Vivienne did not lie down and die with it. She moved onto different pastures taking her collections down the new romantic route. Over the years Westwood has received constant recognition for her work winning the British Designer of the year award twice and also receiving an OBE in 1992. In 2006, Westwood received a DBE for services to fashion. Currently Westwood is focusing more and more on politics, specifically climate change and human rights. Both her most recent men and women’s collections were based around the ever-growing issue of prevention of climate change or as we like to call it at Lime Green Bow ‘Keeping the world beautiful’.

Shop Vivienne Westwood in our collection, 90s Anglomania Jacket