The original fashion rule-breaker. Vivienne Westwood is credited as the woman who brought punk style to high fashion, leaving an impact on the entire fashion industry. She embodied rebellion, protest, and expression through her art, advocating for issues like climate change while engaging an audience through fashion and creativity.
I’ve looked at collections and runway shows from Westwood in awe, taking inspiration from the iconic and envelope-pushing looks. I’ve dreamt of walking down the aisle on my wedding day in a Bagatelle gown and floor-lenght veil, drowning in pearls. In honor of one of the first designers I became familiar with at a young age, I decided it would only be right to look back on some of Vivienne Westwoods’ most memorable fashion moments.
Vivienne Westwood FW 1990-91 ”Portrait” Collection
Inspired by 18th-century French and Rococo art and designs, the “Portrait” collection is a favorite of Westwood’s shows.
The corsets, replicating French paintings, were at the time seen as a controversial statement. Today, a vintage Vivienne Westwood corset is seen being worn by all of today’s it-girls like Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa.
This collection established the fact that Westwood’s designs were meant to be anything but casual. Looks came off as exaggerated, high-maintenance, and perfect for the people who believed you could never be overdressed.
The Pearl Orb Pendant
There is no doubt that you have seen this iconic piece of Westwoods collections. It was first put on the runway in “Portrait” and has only grown in popularity. The three-row choker adds her touch of punk and rebellion to the symbol of prim and proper pearls by making a choker with a Westwood touch.
Rising to a new level of popularity in the past few years over social media, the orb pendant has been engrained in everyday fashion by modern-day fashion influences.
Vivienne Westwood FW 1993-94 Anglomania
Preppy schoolgirl, England’s elegant tailoring, or the Frenches’ exaggerated proportions? The Anglomania married all of these together to create a collection that checked off the boxes of sexy, playful, elegant, and feminine.
The collection was full of furs, gowns, kilts, and platform heels. Yes, the heels that resulted in Naomi Campbell’s infamous fall.
Vivienne Westwood SS 1994 Cafe Society
Set on a theatrical stage with carpets and lounges, the Westwood models walked with powdered faces, snacking on Magnum bars.
The press was taken by surprise by the eroticism of the “performance” which was full of micro bikinis, crotched pieces, exaggerated evening gowns, and body-consuming bows.
Carrie Bradshaw’s Wedding Dress
Yes, the first time I saw a Vivienne Westwood dress was when I saw Sex and the City for the first time wanting to be everything that Carrie Bradshaw was.
Worn for the long-awaited marriage between Carrie and Big (where Carrie is in fact jilted at the alter), it’s been a TV fashion moment so iconic, they had to recreate the look for the reboot show.
Vivienne Westwood FW 2015-2016 Unisex: Time to Act
Most memorable was Kate Moss strutting topless with nothing but a micro mini, a Magnum bar, and the signature Vivienne Westwood orb pendant around her neck.
Just one of the many times Vivienne Westwood used her runway to show her stance as an activist was “Unisex” dressing men and women alike. It was a collection of extravagant silhouettes and attention-grabbing elements. With trousers for women and dresses for men, Westwood created a presentation of inclusivity and creativity within the fashion industry.
Rest in peace to a fashion icon. Vivienne Westwood. To me and millions of others, she is nothing short of an inspiration and a creative genius who lived and succeeded by taking risks.
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