Happy Birthday: Dame Vivienne Westwood

Every so often the fashion industry welcomes a creative champion with a courage to conquer and challenge the conforms of fashion in society.

Vivienne Westwood, Dame, designer and director of the 1970’s modern “punk” movement, turns 74 today.

Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood

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

Outspoken, daring and dramatic in design, Westwood is no stranger to controversy and clothing that speaks for itself.

Honouring an icon of British fashion on her 74th birthday, we look back at some of her most memorable moments:

1. Vivienne and the Sex Pistols.

sex pistols

Westwood assisted by her then husband Malcolm Mclaren, manager of the sex pistols, was responsible for introducing BDSM, bondage gear, safety pins and slogans into the punk movement of the 1970s.

She draw inspiration from bikers and prostitutes, spearheading spiked dog collars as jewellery and encouraging extreme hair and make-up.

2. Tatler, April 1989 – Mrs Thatcher.

viv as thatcher

A now memorable magazine cover, Westwood graced the cover of Tatler in April 1989 dressed as Prime Minister of the time – Margaret Thatcher.

Dame Vivienne wore a suit that had allegedly been ordered by Thatcher and featured the caption “This woman was once a punk” in a stereotypical punk/sex pistol-eque font. Furthermore the magazine’s cover date for April was “April fool”. 

3. THOSE shoes.

naomi campbell viv shoes

Remember Naomi Campbell’s notorious catwalk fall at Paris Fashion Week 1993?!

It was none other than Westwood’s Super Elevated Gillie shoes, in all their 9 inch heeled glory that was responsible for the 90’s supermodel’s tumble.

Once questioned on the extreme heights of her heels, Westwood said: “Shoes must have very high heels and platforms to put women’s beauty on a pedestal.”

4. (A personal favourite) Carrie’s wedding dress, Sex and the City: the film.

carrie wedding dress

Ask any avid Sex and the City fan, who saw the film and they will agree…this dress was THE ONE.

An organza of a wedding dress, fashion fans were still swooning about this Vivienne Westwood number long after the end credits. (If only Patricia Field hadn’t semi-spoiled it with that damn bird feather!)

And there we have it! Happy Birthday VW! x