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The early years

1981 – 1987


The Pirate Collection of 1981 was Westwood and McLaren’s first catwalk show. This offered a romantic look which burst onto the London fashion scene and ensured this collection’s place in history.

‘We’ve only stopped to note significant innovations, otherwise the ideas carry through and develop throughout the collections.’ Pirates, AW 1981-82, first catwalk show. – Plundering history and the Third World. – Research into historical dress, keeping the original cuts as fashion. – Inspiration from Native Americans. Ethnic cuts. – Pirate trousers had a baggy bum/complete contrast to hippy hipsters and tight arse. – Position of neck hole – when worn, garment is asymmetrical. – At this important point in her career, Vivienne developed ethnic cutting techniques which are based on rectangles. She has an idea she knows will work, knocks it up in rough and in small scale and tries it out on a little dummy. Through various adjustments and fittings she arrives at a full scale finished garment in the right fabric. Clothes always have a dynamic with the body. She continues to mix this in with historical cuts. Savage, SS 1982 Buffalo Girls (Nostalgia of Mud), AW 1982-83 – Colours: Mud. – Raw cut sheepskin. – Bras – underwear worn as outerwear. – Inspiration: Peruvian women wearing bowler hats and full skirts, dancing with their babies tied on their back. Punkature, SS 1983 – Inspiration: Blade Runner, desert landscape. – Distressed fabric and recycled junk. Witches, AW 1983-84 -Visit to New York, met Keith Haring. His art looked like magic signs and hiroglyphs. Therefore – collection “Witches”. – Hip Hop, styling of garments stop-frame look, white trainers customized with three tongues, pointed Chico Marx hats. Hypnos, SS 1984 -Image: Greek God of Sleep -Collection very active, sporty, nothing to do with sleep. Very hip. -Collaboration with Malcolm McLaren ceased. Clint Eastwood, AW 1984-85 – Westwood said, “Sometimes you need to transport your idea to an empty landscape and then populate it with fantastic looking people.” – Fluorescent big macs and body stockings, clothes covered in company logos and Day-Glo patches inspired by Tokyo’s neon signs. Mini-Crini, SS 1985 – Cardinal change. Fitted clothes. English tailoring. Princess line coats inspired by the Queen as a child. – Wish to kill masculine big shoulders of the 1980s. – Models sexy, curvaceous, attention drawn to hips. – Mini-Crini inspiration: Petrushka. – Rocking horse shoes.