I headed off to The Chapter, Cardiff a few years ago to watch the ‘Westwood’ movie and love or loathe her, the influence of its focus the eccentric and environmentally centred Vivienne had to be admired. Viv cast a spell on the rebellion of the 70’s and along with then partner Malcolm Maclaren she had an immense impact on the panache of the Sex Pistols and a burgeoning rebellion. The appearance of those punk pioneers was marked by both the fashion creativity and anti-creativity of Malcolm and Vivienne -and, a permanent mark was left on both the culture of that time and society from there onward. Change was progress and that was the way of Westwood. Less became more and her ideas sparked others into action, building confidence from her DIY approach. She viewed punk as a way of “seeing if one could put a spoke in the system” and her input was clear to see.It was not until 1996 that I witnessed Lydon, Jones, Matlock and Cook on stage but even then, the wand of Westwood was evident.
From that point moving on across the decades Viv moved from the Kings Road on to the Queens parlour as the anti-monarchy rumblings eventually filtered into a full blown damehood. However, desires to be avant-garde never diminished and the clothes industry was never the same with the catalyst stance of Westwood always to the fore. Viv may have sold her soul to the corporate devil but she certainly did her bit for many political causes such as CND, climate changeand civil rightsgroups. Therefore, it was cash from chaos, but also cash to curb chaos.
Characters such as Vivienne Westwood are market leaders whose industry came from hard work and using shock tactics and a media of press, TV and radio to spark interest because the vast entity of social media was but a thing of the future. However, she transitioned from a 20th century guru to a post millennium maverick where instead of poking the mainstream from the peripheries she got into the centre of the action and became a voice and vigilant force from within. There is so much more to this story, – read up, watch the ‘Pistol’ mini-series and track down the film of her life.
To royal recognition from the realms of Rotten. Vivienne Westwood, will never be forgotten. RIP.