Legendary Moments: Vivienne Westwood x James Lovelock

Editor Rod Stanley looks back at when Vivienne Westwood guest-edited Dazed & Confused, and how he brought her together with the revolutionary scientist and environmental pioneer

Photos by Lina Scheynius - Issue: July 2009

This September, Dazed and Ray-Ban will be throwing a party with Kim Gordon and Primal Scream, who will be performing live onstage together in a unique collaboration. In support of this legendary moment, we asked the editors of Dazed & Confused to recall their most memorable moments over their years at the magazine. Here, editor Rod Stanley recalls the time Vivienne Westwood guest-edited the magazine in 2009, and what happened when she met renowned scientist and environmental pioneer James Lovelock...

"When Vivienne Westwood guest-edited a special issue of Dazed in 2009, she suggested she interview one of her heroes and inspirations: James Lovelock, the then-89-year-old leading independent scientist and environmental pioneer. (Lovelock is best known for formulating the enormously influential Gaia theory in the 1960s – the revolutionary idea that the earth behaves as if it were a living organism.) We weren't able to make it happen for that issue, as James was cooped up in his Devon cottage finishing his next book, but her team stayed on it and I received an email a year later asking if I wanted to chair a meeting between them. We all crowded into a small office at Penguin – myself, James's wife, Vivienne's brother and a videographer were also there – and spent the next hour discussing his ideas and career.

Vivienne was passionate and knowledgeable, and James showed no signs of being surprised to be grilled by one of the country's leading fashion designers. He told me afterwards that my questions were better than the ones he usually got at the BBC, which pretty much made my year. Vivienne later told me that she would basically do whatever it took to make his ideas more widely known. It's my favourite of all the interviews I've done, and I hope that a few people who might have otherwise never been exposed to Lovelock were made to think about things differently for a moment."

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