The hippie movement was still the fashion look of late 1960s London, but this did not inspire Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, they were more interested in rebellion and in particular 1950s clothing, music and memorabilia. Vivienne began by making Teddy Boy clothes for McLaren and in 1971 they opened Let it Rock at 430 Kings Road.
The Pirate Collection of 1981 was Westwood and McLaren’s first catwalk show. This offered a romantic look which burst onto the London fashion scene and ensured this collection’s place in history.
During 80s period Vivienne’s heros changed from punks and ragamuffins to ‘Tatler’ girls wearing clothes that parodied the upper class. A chance encounter inspired one of her most important and influential collections, the Harris Tweed collection of Autumn/Winter 1987.“My whole idea for this collection was stolen from a little girl I saw on the tube one day. She couldn’t have been more than 14. She had a little plaited bun, a Harris Tweed jacket and a bag with a pair of ballet shoes in it. She looked so cool and composed standing there.”
During 90s Vivienne believes that fashion is a combination and exchange of ideas between France and England; “On the English side we have tailoring and an easy charm, on the French side that solidity of design and proportion that comes from never being satisfied because something can always be done to make it better, more refined.”
From 2000 to present, beginning to put historicism to one side, Westwood returned to a more asexual cut, exploring the natural dynamic of the fabric by treating it like a living mass.