Dame. Vivienne Westwood’s legacy will be remembered by the iconic fashion garments she designed. From punk t-shirts and bondage trousers to Buffalo hats, tartan tailoring and mini crinis. One garment will forever last in fashion’s hall of fame, the Vivienne Westwood corset.
Researcher of the past, Vivienne Westwood has continually raided historical fashions to create some of contemporary fashion's most original looks.
The British fashion designer, who first incorporated corsets into her punk aesthetic in the 1970s, reimagined the garment through a lens of female power, rather than oppression.
As a novice designer I was fortunate enough to work in an office overlooking the Vivienne Westwood Design studio in Battersea. I witnessed the world of Vivienne Westwood and her clan unfold daily from my desk. I’d be in awe of the outrageous models, male and female who who were captured in outrageous photoshoots in the carpark, the theatrics were always spectacular and new ideas on how to wear the corset were born there.
So, it wasn’t until my first work trip took me to Ibiza aged 21, on a shopping trip to the Kings Road I found myself in World’s End Vivienne Westwood’s design emporium. And there at the bottom of a trunk full of faulty goods I found a gold corset. Every so slightly damaged, a bargain at fifty quid and premiered at Ku nightclub the following night in Ibiza.
I adored my Vivienne Westwood corset, I wore it with white Levi’s, Katherine Hammett X Shelley’s shoes or styled it up with JPG Junior lace up mini skirts or with crush velvet leggings. Wearing my corset gave me confidence, whilst I felt sexy, even though restricted by boning, it gave me a sense power, and I loved how that made me feel.
My precious corset moved further and further back into my wardrobe, occasionally my daughter Fleur would wear the corset, firstly as Halloween fancy dress attire and then at 15 she asked to wear it to a party. Styled yet again with jeans, but trainers this time, my precious corset was now appreciated by a Gen Z.
But, I live with regret! I sold my corset, why? I don’t know.