She famously dressed the Sex Pistols [along with Malcolm McLaren] in their original punk rock style at their first gig, complete with outrageous hair and make-up, safety pins, razor blades, chains on clothing and spiked dog collars used as jewelry. Westwood invented the slashed 'A' symbol for Anarchy and was the first to wear underwear as outerwear.
Westwood has brought an original slant to the fashion world and is responsible for many fashion ideas that we now take for granted.
Her first official collection was in 1981, during London's Fashion week and she has maintained the title "Queen of Quirk" ever since, her vision at times at odds with the rest of the fashion world.
In October 1991 and 1993 she was named British Designer of the Year and was awarded the OBE by HM the Queen. Westwood began to attract society clients.
Although her clothes are often revolutionary, she has embraced traditional British fabrics and materials, such as tartan plaids, making them her own with the unusual elements of her style, including frayed hems, torn seams, bustles, exaggeratedly high shoes, etc... serving only to make the overall effect of her designs all the more shocking. She has provoked outrage, amusement and ultimately respect.
"I am a great believer in copying; there has never been an age in which people have so little respect for the past."
Showing in London for the first time in nine years this season, Vivienne Westood shows no sign of giving up her crown...and YAY for that, as she still never ceases to delight us!
Here are some favourite looks from the Vivienne Westwood Red Label Collection, Autumn/Winter 2008...