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Viva Viv

Lynda Moyo visits Glossop's one and only Vivienne Westwood's latest fashion exhibition

Written by . Published on May 30th 2008.

Viva Viv

Vivienne Westwood has to be one of the most daring and delinquent Dames in the fashion industry. This is a woman in her late 60s who draws extra eyebrows on her face, collects her OBE wearing no knickers and dyes her hair a colour likened to baked beans on acid. And why does she do all this? Because she's Vivienne Westwood of course- the woman responsible for meddling and manipulating mainstream fashion fearlessly and frequently. In her own words: “The only reason I'm in fashion is to destroy the word conformity. Nothing's interesting to me unless it's got that element.”

This is a woman in her late 60s who draws extra eyebrows on her face, collects her OBE wearing no knickers and dyes her hair a colour likened to baked beans on acid.

It's no wonder Sheffield's Millenium Gallery felt it right that one of their landmark spaces play host to one of the most influential fashion designers of the last century. Westwood's work has been on tour internationally since 2004 but this is the only opportunity to see the blockbuster exhibition in the UK before it closes.

This exhibiton looks at Westwood's often subversive adaptation of British traditions. Look out for gentle parodies of royalty, tailoring, tartan and accessories. The famous blue-croc platform shoes which Naomi Campbell fell over on the catwalk whilst wearing in 1993 are also on show. Probably not the supermodel's most notable fall from grace, given her assault antics of the last decade.

Hailing from the village of Tintwistle near Glossop, Westwood studied at the Harrow School of Art for one term before deciding to get into teaching. Her second husband Malcolm McLaren became the manager for The Sex Pistols and also opened the shop Let It Rock, from which Westwood began to sell her outrageous designs. She still owns the shop, now called World's End. The Sex Pistols wore clothes from Westwood and McLaren's store at their first gig and the rest is history.

Westwood went on to revolutionise fashion with her shocking and outrageous designs. A feat she still manages several decades on. She has kept her boutiques exclusive and intimate by limiting them to three in London, two in Manchester, and one each in Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds and Nottingham.

When asked if labels are important in an interview, Westwood replied: “Of course they are. Otherwise you wouldn't know which was the back and which was the front my dear.” She may have been in this game a long time but clearly she hasn't lost her northern grace and charm. As a colleague summed up: “She's just a sweet, sweet old Dame.”

One with a rare eye for design.

Visit Vivienne Westwood: The Exhibiton at the Millenium Gallery, Sheffield from May 29- September 21.

Visit Vivienne Westwood in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds at the following locations:

47 Spring Gardens
King Street
M2 2BG

Trafford Centre
Lower Peel Avenue
M17 8AA

Cavern Walks
8 Matthew Street
L2 6RE

15/17 County Arcade
Victoria Quarter

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Katina IasonidouMay 30th 2008.

I love sex and the city espeically the clothes that carrie wears from Vivienne Westwood. I have also visited the Vivienne Westwood shop in New York City.Very Interesting.Thank youKatina Iasonidou

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