Monday, March 24, 2008

"Vivienne Westwood - The Godmother of Punk"

Westwood has a uncanny knack of seaminglessly fusing styles such as Victoriana, Punk, Tribal, French Nobility and Sex Kitten Lolita. Punk style was born with the band Sex Pistols who played their first gig wearing clothes from my shop at 430 Kings Rd. The clothes represented the culmination of the ideas that had pervaded my work up to that time. Zips, rips, chains, bondage, porn and slogans all featured to give a look that would have a revolutionary impact on high fashion still felt to this day. In those days (not now) I believed in Anarchy and hated the older generation. Punk was our creation; the look was the urban guerrilla and it was put together from iconography of our earlier collecgtion. Punk was a movement that rose up against the establishment in the 70s, by the workinmg class youth who were fed up with being ignored. The clothes that Malcom and I were making at the time along with the music of the Sex Pistols etc were rebellious and heroic, they were meant to shock and get peoples attention. Who knows what would have happened without this combination of events. We were inspired by S&M and took t-shirts and ripped them up, made bondage trousers that tied the legs together and put safety pins through the Queens mouth and through clothes. The inspiration for many of the graphics was taken from the seditionaries who were a french art movement in the 1960s. My rebellion was a gut reaction against the corrupt power maniacs, who daily become more powerful. I didn't want to be this token rebel. People were stealing the punk movement, and they carried it on and made whole career out of it. But I realized that you can't keep living on what you have already done, repeating yourself, you need new ideas. And the only way in which you can look at the age in which you live is to look at past ages. I realized that punk was just another commodity for the marketing people. I use my collection as an opportunity to speak out in an age where this is becoming increasingly difficult. That said; the collection is about sex. Quality rather than quantity - business must work with creativity. Let us not forget that the Renaissance rediscovered the Greek mind and with it the understanding that civilization is defined by culture which is manifested in art. Punk began first of all as a fashion. It was a minifest made by means of fashion. We tried to create the image of the modern city revolutionary who was not satisfied with the city he lived in. I was very political at that stage and I still am.

Text: WestEast Magazine issue 23
Image: tjcristo

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