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June 20, 2024

Photo Courtesy: Vogue

Vivienne Westwood’s personal wardrobe is being auctioned

Arushi Sakhuja 

Have you ever dreamed of slipping into a creation by Vivienne Westwood? More often than not, the answer would be a YES! There aren’t many British designers more iconic than Vivienne Westwood. The legendary designer was a key figure in the punk movement of the ’80s and continued to influence London fashion until her death at age 81 in 2022. If you just like us, want to dress as sartorially at the late designer, we have some wonderful news. More than 200 from Vivienne Westwood’s personal wardrobe are going up for auction at Christie’s this summer. That means, there’s a chance to get your hands on some of her most amazing looks, and this time you don’t just dress like a Vivienne Westwood model. Instead, you can dress like the woman herself.

Vivienne Westwood's personal wardrobe
Photo Courtesy: Christie’s

Taking place in two part, before the auction there will be a free public exhibition showcasing all the pieces at the Christie’s headquarters on King Street from 14 to 24 June. The auction titled ‘Vivienne Westwood: The Personal Collection’ featuring Vivienne Westwood’s personal wardrobe will be sold in person on 24, June while an online auction will run from 14-28 June. The sale will raise funds for the causes Vivienne supported throughout her life, with proceeds going to support The Vivienne Foundation, Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières and Greenpeace.

From her 1999 Dressed to Scale collection, there are more than 200 lots of fashion, jewellery and accessories worn by the late designer over the decades. The items have been selected by Andreas Kronthaler, Westwood’s husband, as well as a design partner and the creative director of the Vivienne Westwood brand. He discussed his idea to organise it with Westwood in the final weeks before she died, aged 81, in 2022. “Vivienne Westwood’s sense of activism, art and style is embedded in each and every piece that she created,” said Adrian Hume-Sayer, the head of sales and director of Private & Iconic Collections at Christie’s.  She further adds, “The pre-sale exhibition and auctions at Christie’s will celebrate her extraordinary vision with a selection of looks that mark significant moments not only in her career but also in her personal life. This will be a unique opportunity for audiences to encounter both the public and the private world of the great Dame Vivienne Westwood and to raise funds for the causes in which she so ardently believed.”

Vivienne Westwood's personal wardrobe
Photo Courtesy: Christie’s

The items are from four different decades starting with the Autumn/ Winter 1983/84 Witches collection. The navy blue two-piece dress was partly inspired by the drawings of the US artist Keith Haring. It features a skirt with a sheer panel placed strategically just below the knicker line. This design quirk is fitting for the person who attended Buckingham Palace twice to receive honours without wearing knickers. The Vivienne Westwood collection has some real gems from the designer’s wardrobe, including a taffeta ballgown with the span of a light aircraft from the Autumn Winter 1998 Dressed to Scale collection, a 1983 two-piece ensemble from Witches, one of Westwood’s earliest collections, and a dress from the 2005 Propaganda collection. The latter was among Westwood’s most overtly political and was inspired by the work of Aldous Huxley.

Vivienne Westwood's personal wardrobe
Photo Courtesy: Christie’s

Her distinctive and unconventional clothing, which has been worn by the likes of Pharrell Williams and Theresa May, was perhaps best embodied by the designer herself. Most of the auction lots consist of complete outfits worn by Westwood, rather than individual garments. For instance, one of her favourite dresses from the Gaia the One and Only spring/summer 2011 collection is an ice-blue satin “Cinderella” dress, which has been extensively repaired. On another item, Hume-Sayer noticed what appeared to be a needle still stuck in the fabric, likely from when Westwood was mending it.

Arushi Sakhuja

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