The Queen is dead, long live the queen. As you’re probably aware by now, news came last night that buccaneering punk designer Vivienne Westwood had passed away peacefully at home, in Clapham, surrounded by her family. She was 81 years old.
To say that she changed the course of fashion in her time would be a profound understatement. Westwood’s DNA courses through the veins of modern fashion, her influence deeply entrenched in the psyches of endless designers. For many, she was an entry point into the industry, her brilliantly titillating shows and the bewitching clothes contained within sparking raging fires in creative young minds.
It wasn’t just the clothes that cast a spell, though. In a world founded on elitism and gatekeeping, Westwood was open and welcoming, and always seemed to be having a great time. Where plenty of designers prefer to let their clothes do the talking, retreating into the shadows post-show having only uttered a few words about their most recent collection, Westwood was valiantly outspoken, using her platform to speak endlessly on climate change, capitalism, and war.
It’s thanks to this that the internet, and YouTube particularly, is littered with endless clips of the designer just waiting to be uncovered. Hidden in the video platform’s depths are obscure interviews, ‘lost’ documentaries from the 90s, and Super 8 footage of landmark runway shows, as well as works featuring friends and collaborators – including punk legend Jordan and 90s muse and Westwood poster girl Sara Stockbridge. Many have been uploaded by Westwood’s son Ben, who adds detailed descriptions and anecdotes about life with his mother and what went on behind the scenes.
Here is a list of Westwood clips that hammer home how important she was – and will continue to be – to fashion and beyond. Revisit our 2018 cover in the gallery above.
PAINTED LADIES DOCUMENTARY, PART I, II, AND III, 1996
RUBY WAX INTERVIEW, 1988
BTS AT THE FIVE CENTURIES AGO RUNWAY SHOW, 1997
BTS SUPER 8 AT THE VIVA LA BAGATELLE RUNWAY SHOW, 1997