A New Documentary About Vivienne Westwood


A new documentary about Vivienne Westwood is due to hit our screens next March. Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist will tell the story of one of Britain's true fashion icons. From her struggling journey into the fashion world to her fight against the exploitation of the planet. A very strong opinionated woman with a story to tell, the documentary will tell of the life and career of this admirable fashion designer and activist. It will include interviews from Westwood's collaborators, friends and family, including her son Joseph Corré.

Vivienne Westwood shot to fame when she met the controversial Malcolm McLaren, having left her husband and eventually her career as a school teacher, to go on to open the very famous Let It Rock boutique on Kings Road in Chelsea, London. Known for it's promotion of 1950s Teddy-boy-aesthetic, the store's name changed several times, to Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die (in honour of James Dean) in 1972, to SEX in 1974, to Seditionaries in 1976 and finally to World's End in 1981, which remains it's name today. The store showcased New York's underground counterculture and of course was home to the birth of the Sex Pistols, managed by McLaren himself, and a controversial band themselves, which exploded the British punk movement.

Much of the stock at this King's Road boutique was hand made or limited edition and caused a few eyes to be raised at the time with its latex, rubber, leather, studs and fetish gear. Some of the garments, Westwood's t-shirts in particular, have gone down in history, such as her 'God Save the Queen' ripped t-shirt.

Vivienne Westwood showed her first collection in 1981 at London Fashion Week, her theme that of eighteenth-century smocks and Madame-de-Pompadour-inspired corsets. After a struggling start in the fashion world she went on to become one of the most influential free-spirited British fashion designers of all time.

It was from this platform that she used her success in the fashion world to promote her commitment to social, ethical and ecological causes. She often expressed her opinion and support for issues within her collections, such as 'Leonard Peltier is Innocent' - Spring/Summer 2012 collection, in support of the Native American activist. Westwood is one of the very few designers who uses her creative talents as a way to express her ideals and draws from both elite and nonconformist culture as well as British traditions, thus earning her a loyal following from both youthful rebels and British aristocracy. 

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist is set to be released in March and will premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival as part of the World Cinema Documentary Competition. It will be directed by Lorna Tucker, the acclaimed visual artist director and will mark her first feature film.

Written by Kerrie W
Editor-in-chief at Laundry Magazine