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Vivienne Westwood

Michael Berkeley's guest is fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood. Her musical choices include Ravel, Stravinsky, Milhaud, Bach, Handel, Alcina, Larry Williams and Mussorgsky.

Dame Vivienne Westwood needs little introduction; her name and her brand are known across the world. Indeed, in the Far East she's made it into the top ten most recognised global brands, with Coca Cola and Disney. Her fame rests not just on her fashion designs, daring and sexy and original as they are: because Vivienne Westwood is also the co-creator, with Malcolm McLaren, of punk - that revolution of music and fashion that changed Britain back in the mid-70s.

What is less well known is her passion for classical music, and for going to concerts - 'it's brilliant, it's only £10, much cheaper than going out to a discotheque'. In Private Passions, she talks to Michael Berkeley about the music which has inspired her creations, and about creating costumes for the opera. She describes the hardship of her early days as a designer, when she was so short of money that she lived in a caravan with her two small sons. She remembers the heady days of punk, and marching up and down King's Road dressed entirely in rubber. ('Rubberwear for the office' was the concept, and it was very comfortable, she claims.) She tells the story of how she met her husband Andreas, who now designs with her, thanks to a cow. And why there is nothing more attractive than a man in a suit. Especially when he's bending over.

Her music choices include the climactic orgy from Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe; ballet music by Stravinsky and Milhaud; Bach's St John Passion; Handel's Alcina; Larry Williams; and Musorgsky's Pictures at An Exhibition: 'If there are any punks out there - just listen to this - it will blow your mind!'

Produced by Elizabeth Burke.

1 hour


Music Played

  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Ich folge dir gleichfalls (St John Passion)

    Orchestra: English Baroque Soloists. Singer: Joanne Lunn. Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Etude in E major, Op.10 no.3 (Tristesse)

    Performer: İdil Biret.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Shrovetide Fair (Petrushka)

    Conductor: Pierre Boulez. Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Ma quando tournerai (Alcina)

    Conductor: Alan Curtis. Singer: Joyce DiDonato. Orchestra: Il Complesso Barocco.
  • Tenpole Tudor

    Who Killed Bambi?

    Ensemble: Sex Pistols. Performer: Tenpole Tudor.
  • Darius Milhaud

    Le Boeuf sur le toit

    Conductor: Vladimír Válek. Orchestra: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • Modest Mussorgsky

    The Great Gate of Kiev (Pictures at an Exhibition)

    Conductor: Valery Gergiev. Music Arranger: Maurice Ravel. Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • Maurice Ravel

    Bacchanale (Daphnis et Chloe)

    Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: James Levine.
  • Larry Williams

    Slow Down

    Singer: Larry Williams.


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