Goodbye my love
On the 29th of December, just two weeks ago, we lost Dame Vivienne Westwood. Dame we call her ‘cause in 2006 she was given the title by the British Empire.
I know what you might be saying: “ugh, another rhetorical article on the death of Vivienne Westwood!”. You might be right, you might be wrong, but I can’t help talking about a woman that has truly inspired the love and view that I many have for fashion, the values they want to pursue, the person they want to become. I’m sure these words aren’t true just for me!
Every time we use a safety pin to fix out clothes or make them different, personal, is an ode to her, to the fashion that she created between the walls of her “Sex” clothing shop down King’s Road in the 1970s London. When we make a tartan pattern look fierce, is thanks to her reinterpretation of the classical cloth. If we love manga and anime, we know that “Nana” would not be the same with her closet full of VV’s clothes and accessories (yes, the lovely pearls necklace with her signature Orb too).
When we say PUNK, we say Vivienne: we say creativity, bravery, sexual freedom, no compromises on fundamental values for humanity and the planet, we say optimism that our actions will produce the good results we hope for if we all together work for them. What Dame Westwood brought in the fashion world is experimenting, personality, politics, and ethics, without compromising, but instead emphasizing, the fun and joy that comes from clothes, like her t-shirts with political messages to stop war, save human lives and the planet.
Deeply inspiring for music, she is a Godmother for Sex Pistols, the punk icons, but also for the New Romantic style of Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran, wearing clothes inspired by British 19th century fashion.
Bringing her love for history, art, literature, all that surrounded her and caught her eye, along with the political engagement, she always found new ways to amaze us. Anglomania in one of her most know collections, as is Cafè Society, the 1994 collection exposed in Paris, sexy and extravagant, where she designed voluminous, silk clothes inspired by the paintings of Jean-Antoine Watteau.
No amount of words will be ever enough to describe the impact that Queen Vivienne left on heart: an heritage we must cherish if we think fashion is naturally fun and engagés!
Before we say goodbye babes, I’d like to suggest you a few sources that can help anyone who wants to dive into the magic world of Vivienne Westwood, sources that made me fall in love with her work:
- The documentary “Westwood. Punk. Icon. Activist”, where Westwood herself narrated the most significant moments as a designer and activist. She does that too in another documentary, “Vivienne Westwood in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum”, celebrating her art passion.
- The podcast episode of Morgana, hosted by amazing Michela Murgia and Chiara Tagliaferri, dedicated to Westwood’s unconventional and inspiring life path; the podcast, in fact, talks on every episode about the experience of strong, brave women against the stereotypical role society designated for women.
- The website https://climaterevolution.co.uk/wp/ where all the articles about Vivienne’s activism and political messages where delivered, every battle she fought for the planet, human rights and animal right explained, every lie of the capitalist governments unveiled.
- The talk she had with her life and fashion partner, Andreas Kronthaler, for Vogue: sitting on the floor of their atelier in Battersea, they talked about what inspired and moved them every day through their job, what they thought each other with their different, but matching like puzzle pieces, personalities.
The most beautiful words by Westwood here: “I never thought I was a fashion designer. I have
always considered myself as a fighter for freedom”.
Goodbye Dame Vivienne Westwood, you will be deeply missed and hardly forgotten! As Demis Roussos sang:
Hear the wind sing a sad old song
It knows I'm leaving you today
Please don't cry or my heart will break
When I go on my way
Goodbye my love, goodbye
Goodbye and au revoir
As long as you remember me
I'll never be too far…
[All the pictures in this article are courtesy of the Vivienne Westwood website, @viviennewestwood and @thewestwoodarchives]