Vivienne Westwood is no more. Well in life, that is, not as far as her legend and works.
She was known for her eccentric designs, both as empress of punk" and enfant terrible of British fashion. She turned the very concept of fashion upside down with her radical approach to crazy street style and, for more than 50 years, she made her art a political platform.
From the early 70s, she wanted to break with the "Peace and Love" generation. She opened a shop on London's King's Road where Porn T-shirts, SM outfits, pumps with stiletto heels or vinyl tights make up her outfits.
She becomes her own model. She wears her extravagancies in front of dumbfounded passers-by. Success is on the way. Helped by her proximity to the Sex Pistols, whose hit “God Save the Queen” was a worldwide success, she became the high priestess of the punk universe.
She would never betray this punk spirit and it would animate her until the end.
“What I do today is still punk. It's always about crying out against injustice and making people think even if it's uncomfortable. I will always be a punk," she stressed.
Always irreverent! In 1992, after being decorated by Queen Elizabeth II (as an Officer of the British Empire) she was photographed leaving Buckingham Palace without underwear; she revealed her private parts by swirling her skirt.
But above all, Westwood remained an ultra-politicized fashion designer. Convictions that she defended on all her podiums.
At the center of her fights - her commitment to the environment. A pioneer, in 2008 she called on the fashion industry to take climate change into account and urged consumers not to constantly buy clothes, even if her detractors pointed out her contradictions in this area.
More recently, she opposed Russia’s war against Ukraine from the spring of 2022 through her foundation.
In April 2022, she wrote: “Corruption of law is now a global institution, politicians do what they want on a whim. There's no institutional opposition. They have no responsibility to humanity. War is the biggest earner.”
She continued: “The war in Ukraine should not be happening. If we apply sanctions, Putin would be out in a month.”
By the way, this week, Suzanne Tarasieve a famous art critics and Paris gallerist, passed away. She was originally from Ukraine. Her Ukrainian-Jewish father came from same village as Boris Mikhailov and she contributed to the fame of his works in France.
These two women had a lot in common: punk, stylish, engaged.
Tarasieve died the day before Westwood, and the whole Contemporary Art world is paying tribute to her as well.
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