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Vivienne Westwood

Agosto 2005
Stilista eclettica, controcorrente, scatenata e rivoluzionaria. Storia di Vivienne Westwood,  l’ex ragazza “working class” che ha portato la moda inglese sulle passerelle di tutto il mondo.

di John Rigg

File audio:

Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood

Speaker: Rachel Roberts (Standard British accent)

Vivienne Westwood is a world-famous fashion designer.
She was born Vivienne Swire in 1941 in Derbyshire, in the north of England. Her family moved to London when she was 16. She left school and went to Harrow Art School, but gave up after one term. She explains: “I didn’t know how a working-class girl could make a living in the art world.” Instead she studied to become a teacher, married factory worker Derek Westwood in 1962 and one year later had a son, Ben.


In 1967, bored by her life, she left her conformist world to live with Malcolm Edwards, an art student who would later change his name to Malcolm McLaren and launch the Sex Pistols. Vivienne remembers: “What changed our lives forever was Malcolm’s idea to sell 1950s rock’n’ roll records and clothes. That’s when I taught myself how to make clothes.”
McLaren also convinced her to cut her hair into a short, spiky look and encouraged her to design clothes. They opened a shop on London’s King Road called SEX, but later changed the name to “Seditionaries.” In 1976 Vivienne created the punk look, while McLaren formed the Sex Pistols and punk fashion exploded.


By 1981 Vivienne was confident enough to design her first collection, Pirates, which was shown at that year’s Olympia fashion show in London. The following years brought new collections and great success, but also sadness as her relationship with McLaren ended.
Now single, Vivienne defined her methods: “There are no new ideas,” she said, “we must research the past to be original in the present.”
In fact, the Pirates collection was unique because she based the designs on original eighteenth-century patterns.

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gave up after one term - rinunciò dopo un semestre.

make a living - guadagnarsi da vivere.

factory worker - operaio.

I taught myself... clothes - ho imparato da sola a fare vestiti.

spiky look - look “punk”.

confident enough - abbastanza sicura di sé.

patterns - modelli.