July 2004

Vivienne Westwood

V&A Publications

  • 100 Fifth Avenue
  • New York , NY


Vivienne Westwood is arguably the reigning Queen of British fashion. So it seems fitting that after a career spanning 34 years she would finally have a much-deserved retrospective at the world famous Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Published as a companion piece to this exhibit, abc Vivienne Westwood xyz is a loving tribute to a true legend and innovator in the world of fashion design. Written by Claire Cox, the fashion authority behind, abc Radical Fashion, Bags, and The Art Ad Craft of Gianni Versace, xyz this book is a well-illustrated testimonial historical record of some of this century’s finest collections.

Some of Westwood’s ground-breaking collections are covered here including:

  • Pirate
  • Witches
  • Let It Rock
  • Anglomania
  • Salon

abc Vivienne Westwood xyz also chronicles the designer’s storied career from the time her mother, a weaver, excitedly called her over to see a neighbor who was wearing Dior’s “New Look”. Dior has continued to be an inspiration for Westwood over the years. She has done various takes on his classic suits and jackets. Another staple of Westwood design are the Orb log buttons and classic Tartan plaids. Another aspect of Westwood’s life chronicled extensively is her relationship with Malcom McClaren, who was to be of undeniable influence on her professional development. A fun fact, one of the crowd favorites at the Victoria and Albert exhibition are the purple platforms worn my supermodel Naomi Campbell as she walked down the catwalk. These shoes are wonderfully photographed within the book. This book is a great alternative for those of us not lucky enough to get to London for the retrospective. abc Vivienne Westwood xyz is a wonderful look at a truly inspiring and creative life.

Reviewer: Monika Earle, FIDM Library Staff Member