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Anarchy in the UK - Vivienne Westwood at the De Young

Posted by Miss Ess, June 3, 2007 08:48pm | Post a Comment
Spurred by the looming end of the exhibit, I grabbed my friends Brad and Josh and a few Bob's sex vivienne westwood london malcolm mclaren doughnuts (lemon jelly filled!) and ran to the Vivienne Westwood Exhibit at the De Young Museum.

Based on what I saw, one thing I learned was that Vivienne's clothing is still cutting edge: overwhelmingly so. The exhibit is a complete retrospective of her career, from her punk beginnings in the early 70s to now.  [An aside:  Anyone else wonder what her son with Malcolm McLaren is up to these days?  When you have parents like that, seems like the sky's the limit.]  It's also funny that the clothes Vivienne and Malcolm created together that were so shocking and offensive back in the 70s are now ripped off and mass marketed to every kid who wants some prepackaged rock'nroll edge at Hot Topics across America.  Weird.  Don't people realize what they are purchasing? The fact that every suburban kid these days hits the mall for their "edgy" faux punk gear makes it more difficult to remember that the clothes really were like nothing else when they were originally created, and that a lot of actual, intelligent thought went into the creations.

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Here's Miss Vivienne.  They actually had this shirt at the exhibition.

Like my partners in crime for the day, I wished that the exhibit had more photographs of actual people (yes, even models count!) wearing the fashions instead of just faceless mannequins so we could picture them better, but nonetheless the clothing was for the most part gorgeous and incredibly detailed.  Vivienne moved on from punk rock clothing gracefully to play with the old and the new, the high and the low, with many styles including world fusion-y and pirate-y styles in the 80s:

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and on to retro olde U.K. styles, with kilts for men and kilt-esque skirts for women,

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and with many stops in between for beading, platformed shoes and unexpected cut outs. 


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So many of the shapes, cuts and ideas of her pieces are still worn today, either to a high class event or as street clothes.  The woman is obviously a style icon.  The shop that was the original she opened with Malcolm in the early 70s is still open in London, under her name now, and she has managed to develop herself and her talent from the street's cutting edge all the way to haute couture, which is a truly amazing feat.

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Here she is circa nowadays.  Isn't she a playful lady?  So playful.

The exhibition is open till June 10 at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

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Malcolm Mclaren (3), Vivienne Westwood (1), De Young Museum (1)