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2 September 2014
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Vivienne Westwood by Jane Bown
© National Portrait Gallery, London

Biography: Dame Vivienne Westwood

The daughter of a cotton weaver and shoe-maker, Vivienne Westwood was born in Glossop, Derbyshire in 1941.

The self-styled queen of punk revolutionised the fashion industry with her risqué creations. ‘Sex’, her seminal shop run with Malcolm McLaren, launched punk’s iconic look.

Her unconventional collections have established her global reputation as one of Britain’s most original designers.

Most Renowned For

Clad in a flesh coloured, transparent dress with no knickers and a strategically placed fig leaf, Vivienne infamously sabotaged her own entrée into the establishment when she collected her OBE from the Queen in 1992.

Cultural Impact

Vivienne is famous for ripping up the pattern book. When the world was boob fixated, Vivenne introduced the ‘faux cul’ – a lightweight bustle focusing on the bottom. She gave us the bustier, the Westwood tartan and the 10 inch platform shoes from which Naomi Campbell famously toppled mid catwalk strut.

Vivienne is a notorious critic of the dumbing-down of culture and remains resolutely subversive. Last year she made t-shirts bearing the slogan ‘I am not a terrorist, please don’t arrest me.’

In Her Own Words

"Fashion is about eventually being naked"

Pub Quiz Trivia

When she impersonated Margaret Thatcher on the front cover of Tatler, the suit Vivienne wore had actually been ordered by Thatcher but not yet delivered. When the truth was out, the Iron Lady was furious.
Mica Paris
Vivienne Westwood is a national treasure and people have always felt warm towards her because of her eccentricity and her unique sense of Britishness. Earlier this year she was made a Dame by the Queen. If the Queen can vote for her, so can you!

Mica Paris


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