April 8, 2011
One might imagine that, at age 70, fashion designer VIVIENNE WESTWOOD’s (born 1941) days shocking the bourgeoisie might be long over. After all, when you have almost single-handedly invented the punk look (Cambridge Rapist t-shirts, anyone?), not to mentioned weathered a relationship with one of the most notorious self-promoters of the late 20th century (New York Dolls and Sex Pistols manager, Malcolm McLaren), when you have twirled for joy in front of the paparazzi after receiving the Order of the British Empire from the Queen of England only to remember — too late — that you aren’t wearing underpants, what, really, do you for an encore? Marrying a former student 25 years younger than yourself is a good step, of course. Writing a manifesto railing against the “drug of consumerism” while selling $600 shoes is another. But, I submit, one of the most subversive things you can do, particularly as a doyenne of the fashion industry, is to make no attempt to hide the ravages of time upon your face, all the while dressing like you don’t give a tinker’s damn what the world thinks an “old lady” is supposed to look like. Because, of course, you don’t.
PUNK, POST-PUNK & ALTERNATIVE on HILOBROW: Joey Ramone | Dez Cadena | Jello Biafra | HR | Mike Watt | Vivienne Westwood | Iggy Pop | D. Boon | John Lydon | Henry Rollins | Palmolive | Plastic Bertrand | Kira Roessler | Lisa Carver | Frank Black | Ari Up | Gary Panter | Mike Watt | Ian Curtis | Paul Simonon | Darby Crash | Penelope Houston | Exene Cervenka | Sid Vicious | Andrew Eldritch | Kate Pierson | Richard Hell | Paul Westerberg | Lux Interior | Ian Dury | Stiv Bators | Tom Verlaine | Colin Newman | Johnny Thunders | Poison Ivy | Green Gartside | Lydia Lunch | Mark E. Smith | David Byrne | Debbie Harry | Captain Sensible | Mark Mothersbaugh | Kim Gordon | ALSO: The Original Generation X (1954–1963) and the birth of DIY | The Original Stooge | Origin of the Pogo | Shocking Blocking: Rock’n’Roll High School | Punk fanzines from the 1970s | Post-Punk and New Wave on HiLobrow
On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Edmund Husserl and Yip Harburg.
READ MORE about members of the Anti-Anti-Utopian generation (1934-43).
What do you think?
LOVE her! She’s amazing – so talented and just so flipping brill. Viv totally ROCKS!
“Vivienne …almost single-handedly invented the punk look” NO. Richard Hell and other New York musicians had donned what we what consider punk clothes for some time before Vivienne’s then-boyfriend Malcolm McClaren visited NY and took Hell’s style back to their London shop. Vivienne may have had the eye to recognize something great and the smarts to market it to the masses, but she had little hand in its origination.
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