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Friday, 15 May 2009

Vivienne Westwood - English Eccentric and her link to Agent Provocateur... Never mind the Bollards...

Vivienne Westwood Pictures, Images and Photos

"I agree totally..., there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of uniquely British people that fall into this category, from William Blake, to Robert Clive, to Aleister Crowley, to Johnny Rotten, all have that peculiar English eccentricity that is found nowhere else in the world. Every country produces great men and women, but the English greats all seem to have this 'ever so slightly mad' air about them." Robert Agasucci

Vivienne Westwood Pictures, Images and Photos

La Wiki tells me that Dame Vivienne Westwood, DBE, RDI (born 8 April 1941) is a British fashion designer largely responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream.

She is linked with the Sex Pistols via Malcolm McLaren and their SEX boutique on Kings Road, Chelsea in London during the 1970s. The shop was at 430 Kings Road.

But Fhina always thought that Viv was the brains of that particular outfit, doncha know?!

vivienne Pictures, Images and Photos

I was standing in front of her boutique in Leeds yesterday, while I was on my way to a meeting, and I so coveted her lovely tan-coloured handbag dangling from the sort of Queenly-looking globe and crown that is her motif, her brand...

Victoria Quarter Pictures, Images and Photos

I had never been in the Arcades in Leeds before, and I was impressed by their Victorian splendour, now housing the great and the good of famed designers and shopkeepers, as Napoleon mischievously once called the English!

Victoria Quarter Shopping Pictures, Images and Photos

I managed to procure some of my favourite perfume, Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone... I have worn it for a few years now, (only my, now sadly bankrupt, 'hairdresser to the stars' ever notices that I wear it!) but can only buy it from the shop in Edinburgh, or London, or Leeds as it now turns out... Buying the perfume in the shop is part of the pleasure, part of the treat, even though I could always have blagged it online when I was less mobile, and I ran out of parfum, mes bloggy parakeets...

Victoria Quarter Pictures, Images and Photos

The staff are so lovely in Jo Malone, not snooty or affected in any way, and the glass bottle of perfume is placed in its cream and black coffer-box, cream tissue is sprayed with Grapefruit Cologne to cushion it, and the matching bag is tied with a piece of trimmed black ribbon... So classy, so BCBG, non...

holiday 2007 jo malone Pictures, Images and Photos

I always use the bag later to hold other things - Important Papers, scarves, trinkets; the box is pressed into service containing bits and pieces or jewjaws; the ribbons are used to mark out a variety of keys - A bow is tied around the key, and that way I am less likely to lose it... For Fhina is prone to be Bohemian and chaotic, as you have noted, despite her (at work!) co-ordinated airs and graces...) So one be-ribboned key graces my desk at work, another bow holds one of the keys for my Belgian dresser/cabinet (in fact I have two dressers (each has four keys!), almost identical, bought years apart... One from an antiques shop in North Shields, in fact - and I found out later that it had belonged to a relatively famous local radio DJ and evangelist, and the other dresser I found two or three years ago, espied through the mucky window of a real junk shop in Wallsend - And it cost a tenth of what I paid for the first, to boot!)

Wiki tells me, 'Westwood was born Robyn Norton in the village of Tintwistle, Cheshire (now in the county of Derbyshire) on 8 April 1941. Vivienne went on to attend Middlesex University Trent Park College and later taught at a primary school in North London. She loved teaching.

vivienne westwood Pictures, Images and Photos

'The Punk style began to gain notoriety when the Sex Pistols wore clothes from Westwood and McLaren's shop at their first gig. The "punk style" included BDSM fashion, bondage gear, safety pins, razor blades, bicycle or loo chains on clothing and spiked dog collars as jewellery, as well as outrageous make-up and hair.

viveeeeee Pictures, Images and Photos

'Design elements included traditional Scottish themes, and historical patterns, including tartans. Vivienne interpreted 17th and 18th century cutting principles, and used them to revolutionize men's trousers. Traditional contrasts made her designs more shocking. Other influences in Westwood's work have been Peru, the feminine figure, velvet and knitwear.

Westwood Pictures, Images and Photos

'The first major Retrospective of her work was shown in 2004–5 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the National Gallery of Australia. The exhibition was made up of around 145 outfits, grouped into themes, from the early 1970s to the present day, drawn from her own personal archive and the V&A's extensive collection. They range from early punk garments to glamorous "historical" evening gowns. The retrospective toured the world.

'In December 2003, she and the Wedgwood pottery company launched a series of tea sets featuring her designs. Demonstrating the impact of her long career, Westwood's designs were featured in the 2008 film adaptation of the award winning television series Sex and the City, in which Carrie Bradshaw becomes engaged to long term lover Mr. Big. Her editor invites her to model wedding dresses for an upcoming article called "The Last Single Girl", and one of the dresses in the photo shoot is by Vivienne Westwood, which is subsequently sent to Carrie as a gift, with a handwritten note from Viv herself.

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD Pictures, Images and Photos

D'espite being invited to participate in the making of the movie, Westwood was unimpressed with the costuming by stylist Patricia Field, walking out of the film's London premiere after 10 minutes, publicly criticising the clothing featured as being frumpy and boring. (I've never seen either the film or the movie, so I can't comment mes dahlinks of le bon marche!)

'And yet, the wedding dress has subsequently become widely recognised as one of the movie's most iconic features and has led Westwood to approach the producers about being involved in the sequel".

I have always loved Viv, even in the depths of her 'model-wearing-chip-packet' fashions, I have adored her eccentricity and her uniqueness... I was never a punk, although I remember looking on as a young girl, when the blonde boy (a little older than me), who lived at the bottom of my street, storked past my home with his safety-pinned troos and scanty Mohican... My dad's jaw was usually open at that point...

I admire Viv's chutzpah, her style and knowledge of historical fashion design... I wish her every success, as she continues to grow and learn... She is a true English Eccentric to my eyes.

Vivienne Westwood Bridal Pictures, Images and Photos

Vivienne's children are:

* Ben Westwood, son of Vivienne and Derek Westwood, and a photographer of erotica.
* Joseph Corre, son of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, founder of lingerie brand Agent Provocateur...

Notorious for going knicker-less, Viv caused a stir in 1992 when she came to collect the OBE, and twirled to reveal all. After being made a Dame in 2006 by Charles, Prince of Wales she disclosed that she was knicker-less again... Merveilleux, non?!

Interestingly, Agent Provocateur, was the very boutique backing on to Vivi's in Leeds - So cool - Mother and son so closely stacked... And still I wondered whether they'd even noticed that... Had they even been to their shops, a deux; Do they visit their Empires, I wonder?

Speaking of la famille! I apologise mes bloggy fruit-bats for being here so seldom this week, for not visiting your fabulous blogs as much as I should wish, and for getting back with my response comments so tardily...

This has been my first full week back in the office - And out of it, including travelling to Leeds on Thursday, et je suis tres fatiguee, mes amis, knackered in short!

Sorry old chums...
Es tut mir sehr leid...

Alan Bennett said: Life is rather like a tin of sardines - we're all of us looking for the key.

While Albert Einstein once retorted: Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile...

I am missing you already... Mwah! Once again, mes tout petits lardons... MWAH, in fact!

Agent provocateur Pictures, Images and Photos


Anonymous said...

And an old Indian poet once observed: We were always looking for the key, but the door was already open.

Good old Vivienne - a true classic and a courageous one too!

lizspin said...

I want to be notorius for going knicker-less!

Carolina said...

I'd love to smell the perfume. Why can't we have smellyblogs? Although that doesn't sound right at all ;-) A very chique post, apart from the knickerlessness, hehe.

French Fancy said...

I've always been in two minds about our Viv. I once bought a jacket of hers in Libertys and the pocket fell off about two weeks later. Went and got a refund (and no, I didn't pull it off).

French Fancy said...

ps - of course I realise she didn't actually sit and sew the thing herself, but I was cross that - considering it was bloody expensive - that it wasn't better made

Derrick said...

Well, Fhina. Going nickerless might be fine IF she kept everything else covered up! I'm not keen on the chaise longue look!

Sorry you're working yourself to a frazzle. Ease up over the weekend.

Ruth said...

The key is being willing to be honest about who we are - and flaunt it.

Michelle said...

Dera Fhina
Awesomeness! Did you take some of those photos???

I am learning every single day I read your blog!!!

Thank you dear one!!!

kapgaf said...

Ma chère FSI,

Vivienne Westwood and the bustle. Loved it but wouldn't have dared wear (if I could have afforded it). Such an inconic eccentric.

Please remember, life is like a bagel.

Bises tout plein d'une kapgaf sous une pluie battante.

Protege said...

I have always thought Vivienne was just eccentric, but now you made her interesting. I found it so fascinating that her children also became involved with fashion.
Never heard of your favourite perfume, but it sure sounds (and looks) heavenly.
Have a great weekend Fhina.;))xo

lakeviewer said...

Oh, this is such a romp, Fhina. We are so transported by your knowing touches of fun and fancy and quirky places and people. I stop here to enter a new world; and you provide so much more than I could ever find anywhere else. Now, pomegranate perfume? That must cost you your first born.

blognut said...

I love your blog, Fhina. And I'm sorry to hear that you're knackered (which I assume is some form of tired, in which case I am too and I totally understand :).

I do wonder if one should be both knackered and knickerless and I think I should like to try it and see if knackered can be overcome by knickerlessness. :)


Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Oooh naughty Viv!! I'd love to have her guts!

I like your perfume buying story - rituals are nice to have. Lovely weekend to you lovely Fhina xx

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

Westwood is eccentric to say the least and knickerless? That would have been a real show for sure! Love the pics in the blog...yours?

REread said...

she is such a cool lady ... she makes 'vulgar' cool

Chairman Bill said...

Mad as a hatter, of course. Impossible to live with, unless you're equally mad.

Selchie said...

Great article, really interesting, English eccentrics... never!!!

Happy days lovely,


Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

I thought I left a post here yesterday ...

'mais obviously non!!'

A Woman Of No Importance said...

ladyfi: That is such a sweet piece of poetry! And as for Viv, yes, I always think there's far more to her than meets the eye - And she has obviously passed that talent on to her progeny, ladyfi, as I guess we would also hope to do with our little ones? Love to you this weekend! x

lizspin: You make me laugh, my dahlink Liz! Not sure that will go down so well in church, my precious! ;) xxx

Carolina: My perfume is peppery and light - As I say, only my hairdresser and his stylist ever commented on it! It's said to be redolent of a walk a night down the Champs Elysees, and I do love it - It has such a perfect name too... xxx

French Fancy: I am so sorry to hear about the jacket, FF, and that is really very interesting - I'm not sure where she has her stuff made up - I am so pleased you managed to get your money back though... What a disappointment! I was very shocked to see (online - I wouldn't dare go in the shop!), that a cotton shopper was selling for around £109 - Shocking! x

Derrick: I know, I was very surprised to see her doing an Ingres (I think!) on the chaise longue, but felt it shows her wonderful eccentricity!x

Ruth: Fabulously said, Ruth - "The key is being willing to be honest about who we are - and flaunt it". Merci mille!

Michelle: Not my photos, my precious - I'm not there yet with working my new-old camera and downloading pics - Give me a couple of weeks and I might have mastered it! At the mo' I am still using Photobucket for everything! Love to you, sweetie! xox

kapgaf: It's been mad-raining here too - And it's very close at the moment, I thought a storm was brewing, but now the skies are blue - England! Four seasons in one day, non! xxx

Protege: Thank you darling Z! I hadn't realised that about her children, either! Fascinating indeed! And my perfume - I think it's a very English brand, and not that long established (the first shop opened in 1994), and it's only sold through the shops and online, so I don't think Jo Malone would have a boutique in Denmark yet... Have a fine weekend, my friend Z! xox

Lakeviewer: Thank you so, dear Rosaria... As for my cologne - One lovely bottle lasts around a year, as I only have two perfumes on the go in my boudoir at one time (the other is usually a Dior EDT), and now costs me £61 for 100 ml... So not too bad, considering I have so few other vices (*ahem!*) x

blognut: Thank you, so, dear Bloggus! Knackered is indeed bone-tired! I am sorry to hear that you are too, my friend... We work too hard, and balancing the children too... :) And knickerless, maybe we should see if it is an antidote! ;) Love to you, my sweet! xxooxx

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3: I know - I don't have her courage, either! Have a fabe weekend, Jo! xox

Alicia @ boylerpf: No, my dahlink, I am not yet clever enough to take pics and post them! All my pics come via Photobucket and extensive searches, which sometimes take me in a whole 'nother direction ;) x

REread: Ca, c'est vrai, mon amie!

Chairman Bill: I guess that might be the case, Sir!

Selchie-Sarah: Thank you, so!

Saz, blogger can be a very, very irritating thing, non?! Love to you, my beauty! xxx

Anonymous said...

i love the wedding dress from sex and the city it is beautiful x

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daisymay aka Chantele said...

Hello I know this post is pretty old but I just want to say it is great. I am a major westwood fan! I actually find your blog whilst I was on the search for an image for my own blog, I hope you dont mind that I borrowed one but I shall link back to your blog. I am also going to visit that westwood shop in a few weeks as I have an hour stop over in leeds before I get a bus to sheffield!


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