Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

Where we finally learn what “your future dream is a shopping scheme…” might mean in this documentary from director Lorna Tucker about Dame Vivienne Westwood, who from her childhood in postwar Derbyshire to the runways of Paris and Milan was likened to a snot-wad of fabric. Mainly known for her association with Malcolm McLaren’s SEX shop and the safety-pin torn t-shirts and bondage gears that she created (i.e. inspired?) would lend the war zone chic to punk rock. Unwilling to delve much into the inspiration (where it would be interesting to hear why Soviet and Nazi symbols were incorporated in this strike against “the system”), Westwood comes across better than her fashions, which could be said to maintain a “Lane Bryant/Tempura” cling that has pissed off and been praised by fashion elites alike. She defines herself as a “fashion anarchist” and “the last punk rocker” using old tartan bandit flair for Johnny Rotten’s identifiable togs (she dismisses him by saying “Johnny was a phenomenon, he should’ve changed to something else by now!”) Do not go into this thinking it’s gonna be wild in the streets (she’s more of an earth-worshipper nowadays), when it’s a celebration of outlandish concoctions that might make you appreciate pants-on-the-ground aesthetics even more. Demanding, a bit obnoxious and completely self-absorbed, I both love her and hate her – which is probably her aim after all.