Friday, 29 July 2011

My Favourite Designers, #1: Vivienne Westwood

I recently made a pilgrimage to the Vivienne Westwood shop on Conduit Street, in central London. It was a gorgeous set-up, with a glittering window display and very attentive staff. I chose this Prince Charming handkerchief (£15) to tie around my handbag, because I loved the fairytale feel to its text and the elegant rose print. It was really hard to walk away without buying up rails of clothes, but I'm aiming to save up for one of her dresses.

This Dryad dress (taken from Cocosa) really shows you why Westwood is hailed as celebrating the female form. Although the model here is slender, the shape of the garment is very flattering on curvaceous women - the nipped-in waist adds shape, whilst the scoop neckline is structured and given a formal edge with the collar detail.

One of Westwood's limited edition pieces in the Valentines range 2011 (from Hervia), this pendant is to die for - a phrase I don't utter lightly. Using a sample of traditional portraiture with the eye image, she has transformed the emblematic heart and arrow icon into something new and original, with the trademark orb design added on top.

A newer example of her jewellery prowess (taken from Hervia), this stamp piece harks back to previous collections but is modern and tongue-in-cheek. The sturdy chain also means it's built to last and will serve as the antithesis of the delicate women's bracelet. It's bold, eye-catching and fun.

Intended to be mismatched, these brogues are such a brilliant statement piece. Although they are unusual, they'd be great for wearing in a more liberally-minded workplace, as the formality of the brogue and its high-quality design means that you could easily wear these all day.

Three reasons why Dame Vivienne has topped my list:

1. She's ethically-minded and keen on free speech. Every ad campaign she runs in the media features the words 'Leonard Peltier is innocent', raising awareness of a Native American Indian man who has been convicted of a crime that many believe he did not commit.
2. She knows that not all women fit the size zero mould, and she caters for all of us with her body-enhancing clothes. You can rest assured that her clothes will not alienate you, and it will always be you wearing them (rather than the other way around).
3. She's a successful woman who doesn't give in to old age or the pressures of modern society. If she wants to wear a slogan t-shirt or a cocktail dress, she'll bloody well wear it, and she'll star in her own clothing promotions instead of hiring an identikit model.

I wish her many more years at the top of her game. If you're ever near Conduit Street, do go and check out her stores - there's one for men and another for women - because I can assure you that you won't be disappointed.


  1. I love this post! Vivienne Westwood is my favourite designer of all time.

    I'm praying I get some more Westwood goods for Christmas this year. I don't own any of her clothes yet but I think I'm leaning towards a pair of shoes!


  2. She is my favourite too! I don't know how she does it, but she's produced decades of great design.

    Hope you get some VW shoes for Christmas - that'd be an awesome present :)

    Polly x


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