31 August, 2015

Vivienne Westwood by Vivienne Westwood & Ian Kelly

Innovative, rebellious and often scandalous, British fashion  designer Vivienne Westwood is still, at 72 years of age, at the top of her game.

Most people know her best from her connection with Malcom McLaren. Already a schoolteacher, wife and mother when she met him in 1965 they teamed up to form a creative, potent duo. Vivienne recounts those crazy years in great detail - the early days of their shops (Let It Rock and SEX) on the Kings Road selling rubberwear and punk clothing, and Malcolm’s  band, The Sex Pistols.

Fascinating what she has to say about Malcolm McLaren. I really enjoyed hearing her version of events.

Born during the Second World War and rationing Vivienne came from a family who were good at making things from materials that were available. She still believes that people should buy less and choose well (quality over quantity).

Fighting for a number of causes, climate revolution, human rights, Leonard Peltier and Julian Assange, she skilfully uses her celebrity to make her message heard.

I also found it interesting seeing how the fashion industry has changed over the years and become a huge player in the global economy. The couture collections are fashion as art. Thousands of hours can go into creating one outfit that few could afford while the wider public buy versions of these and other products carrying the designers name.

And her best accessory?
 – a book! “Reading is my sublime luxury.”

Ian Kelly is also the author of Beau Brummell, Casanova, Mr Foote's other Leg & Cooking for Kings: the life of Antonin Careme the first celebrity chef.

Authors: Vivienne Westwood & Ian Kelly

Claire S works in the Information Services/Arts Team and loves reading biographies, contemporary fiction and non-fiction (art and anything related to New Zealand). 

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