I recently had the pleasure of seeing the Vivienne Westwood documentary, directed by Lorna Tucker. Despite its controversial reviews I thought it was well researched and well produced; throwing light on many of the wonderful things she has achieved.
I found the documentary insightful towards the industry, and was surprised to find that Vivienne’s story and views deeply resonated with my own views and beliefs.
I was particularly moved by one of the predominant themes; that incredible people come from all walks of life. And Vivienne was certainly incredible. At the age of 11 she started making her own clothes. I know from experience that this is a great feat indeed. To be so creative and practical at such a young age is incredible indeed.
There is a poignant moment in the documentary where they interview Vivienne about her life and says, “I was this northern woman, married at the age of 21 (and had her first son, Ben, at the age of 22), was a bit stupid”.
She knew that she couldn’t carry on with this marriage and being a housewife, having no intellectual expansion. She had to go and broaden her horizons and learn a thing or two about the real world. A bold but true statement for many women even today. My own dreams couldn’t have happened if I’d stayed in my home town in Somerset!
I was also very impressed with the way in which the documentary took great pains to emphasise Vivienne’s ethos that:
“Clothes need to command action and engagement”
I too have always firmly believed that clothes need to tell a story. Clothes that tell a story are timeless and that’s just what clothes are meant to be; absolutely iconic and timeless in their own right. With Vivienne you can expect the unexpected; beautiful, ornate, incredible cut, draped collections and then contrast anarchy, activism punk, rock.
She creates and reproduces garments; her idea is to reduce her product offering and rework things until they are completely right. That’s what I love about dressing and style development for my own bespoke fashion collections; I create a response, I create harmony, I create connection through clothes. I make things last forever, often repaired to death.
What an inspiring contribution this woman continues to make with her activism and campaigning! She utilizes her celebrity status as one of the most iconic designers ever to make a difference in accordance with her vale and beliefs. She is at heart a rebel, looking to overthrow conformity and mediocrity in as many ways as she can.
Anyone who doesn’t love this documentary, I believe, is not only being unintelligent but unimaginative. Seeing the depths that this visionary has achieved for real people with real emotion and real values was a pleasure and a delight to watch.
Katie Young Gerald
Bespoke Textiles founder