I’ve often expressed my admiration for British designer Vivienne Westwood. She’s 71 years old, she’s kind of crazy, she’s wholly original, and she makes interesting clothes that sometimes work spectacularly. Lately, Westwood has become one of the few British designers who has dared to criticize Duchess Kate – most designers genuflect and kiss-ass, hoping that Duchess Kate will deign to wear one of their items so they can become some overnight success. Westwood has slammed Kate for her raccoon makeup and for not recycling her clothes enough. And now Westwood has taken on First Lady Michelle Obama in a new interview with the New York Times. Westwood is promoting her new exhibit at the Costume Institute. You can read the full piece here, and here are some excerpts:
Westwood on answering questions about how punk she is: “I think it’s ridiculous. I’m also rather bored with American journalists. Every time punk comes up, they think of me as a kind of trophy. ‘Oh, we know Vivienne, she’s great.’ And then you hear nothing from them in between. You know, America is an isolated territory, with all those editors who think they are so powerful. Mostly, I think they are rubbish. And I don’t like fashion magazines either. Someone asked me the other day, if I really was a world controller, what is the first thing I would do. I would stop advertising.”
On whether punk fashion is making a comeback: “I don’t follow fashion. I really don’t. I’ve never been interested in it. I think punk has entered into the iconography of fashion. In 1970 or 1969, the shop we have, Worlds End at 430 Kings Road, that was Mr Freedom. I went in there and bought a pair of tight leopard-printed velvet trousers. I had never seen anything like it. It was the most amazing thing. Punk says rebellion. Now every child has seen this.”
Can fashion still provoke? “Probably not. There’s such a communication of stylists. They weren’t very important once. The general public didn’t even know about them. They were paid very badly and worked for two weeks getting a shoot together and got a quarter of what the hair person got. Fashion has become so whatever. I don’t think there are any stones left to unturn.”
On Duchess Kate: “I didn’t criticize her. I said that it would be a wonderful thing for her to wear her clothes more than once. She’s getting this wonderful look, but if she has a red look today, why does she have to wear the blue look tomorrow? It’s just by way of an example to other people that you should buy less. Don’t buy so many clothes.”
On FLOTUS Mobama: “Don’t talk about her. It’s dreadful what she wears… I don’t want to talk about it. Really, I can’t. She’s a very nice looking lady, but it’s a nonstarter regarding clothes that suit her. Jackie Kennedy was a different matter altogether. It just has to suit her and be something that makes a human being more glamorous. That’s what fashion is there for. It’s there to help, not just to make you look more conservative.”
The hell? Michelle Obama wears flattering clothes! Sometimes. MOST of the time. Ocassionally, Michelle will wear something and I’m like, “Ooooh, NO.” For example, I didn’t like what Michelle wore for the day-time inauguration activites – that little cardigan over the A-line dress? Disaster. But I loved her Jason Wu gown in the evening. And most of the time I’m into it, even if I know I couldn’t pull it off. Maybe Vivienne is like Karl Lagerfeld – pissed off because Michelle got midlife crisis bangs? The thing is, I think Westwood wants Michelle to be more punk’d out, and… that seriously wouldn’t work on any first lady. Michelle is “controversial” enough with the bangs, and her crazy-awesome arms and the whole “first African-American first lady” thing. She can’t be punk too.
Here’s Mobama dancing on Fallon a few weeks ago.
Photos courtesy of WENN.