‘Every time I design something it has to have character.’
– Vivienne Westwood
Today sees the release of the highly anticipated movie Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist. The first ever docu-film made about legendary fashion designer, icon, campaigner and rebel, Dame Vivienne Westwood.
Director Lorna Tucker, shadowed Vivienne, her art director husband Andreas Kronthaler (25 years Vivienne’s junior) and their design team for the best part of a year to pull together an honest depiction and a peek behind the scenes of the life and works of the fashion legend and activist.
‘Sharp-lined but entirely flattering, rather like one of Westwood’s showiest catwalk gowns’ – Variety
The film was shown at the Sundance film festival in February but Vivienne Westwood wasn’t impressed. She released a statement expressing her disappointment; ‘The film is mediocre and Vivienne and Andreas are not.’
Westwood has shaped and inspired fashion since she exploded onto the scene almost 40 years ago with her provocative Punk collections that her and her then-husband Malcolm Mclaren (manager to the Sex Pistols) sold in their King’s Road store, ‘SEX’. The Sex Pistols wore Westwood’s and McLaren’s designs, and the rebellious Punk movement was born.
Westwood has been redefining British fashion ever since, creating some of the most distinctive looks of our time and all the while making a political statement through her collections, shows and active campaigning ‘All of my motivation has been because of I’ve been so upset with what can happen to people in the world.’ – Vivienne Westwood
She’s an Ambassador for Greenpeace and a patron of Reprieve. In 2012 she launched Climate Revolution her own platform for action on global warming. The Vivienne Westwood brand is ethical, and producer Lorna Tucker wanted to show just how hard it is to run a sustainable fashion business when your industry is based on growth. That being said, the Vivienne Westwood empire has a reported annual turnover of £37.5m.
Lorna traveled with Vivienne Westwood to the Arctic for a Greenpeace campaign, and stayed on a boat with Vivienne and Andreas for five days. The couples enchanting relationship is in full view throughout the movie.
Over the years, Vivienne has caused a stir, stripping off for a shower in a campaign with PETA, and again to produce an End Ecocide on Earth campaign with Andreas. Her Ethical Fashion Africa campaign saw her taking to the streets of Nairobi to empower female workers. She famously turned up in a tank outside David Cameron’s house in an anti-fracking protest and she collected her OBE from Buckingham Palace, knickerless.
The film includes insightful interviews with Vivienne’s fascinating network of collaborators, guiding us on her journey from a childhood in postwar Derbyshire to the runways of Paris and Milan. ‘She’s our Queen’ – says Kate Moss candidly to the camera. While Andreas is clearly fascinated with his wife’s passion and vision ‘You need people like Vivienne, people who are changing things.’