my fashion education: Vivienne Westwood by Vivienne Westwood & Ian Kelly

Vivienne Westwood by Vivienne Westwood & Ian Kelly

What better way to welcome the new year than with a ridiculously heavy fashion memoir? I got this book from one of Walthamstow’s Little Free Libraries after Christmas and read it over a few days, at home of course (it weighs over a kilo and won’t fit in a small handbag). But it’s heaviness and length is well used, the story interested me even though I really had no desire to know any more about punk. It’s not my style, I never make the effort to look through the pictures of the Vivienne Westwood shows but I’ve always respected her brand and contribution to the world of fashion. It was nice to get some context in an area I hadn’t explored before and the strength of this book is that it drew me in so far that I couldn’t put it down (and didn’t leave the house!)

Vivienne Westwood, British Vogue October 2009 © Tim Walker

Oh to have the confidence of Vivienne. And of the punks. It was a movement that exists in both a bubble and in everyday life. It is a time to be explained but not forgotten and I feel that everything Vivienne does now and will do in the future still has a strong undercurrent of the punk mentality. And how can it not? When you live a life like she has it moulds you into either a fantastic success or a crippled mess. Her longevity is proof of how she handled herself. The images that accompany the stories of Vivienne’s life are helpful to understand who, what, where was happening around her. But as someone who is not 100% familiar with every show she has done or every shirt she sewed zippers into I was a bit lost when they referenced specific looks. I probably have seen them before but it is a never-ending case of not being told what something is and experiencing that disconnect. Otherwise, I felt that the images chosen really improved the experience of reading this book.

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