430 Kings Road
1971 – 1980
The hippie movement was the most popular fashion in late 1960s London, but it didn’t inspire young Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren. They were much more intrigued by acts of rebellion and typical 1950s clothing, music, and memorabilia.
Vivienne began by designing and making Teddy Boy clothes for Malcolm and in 1971 they opened a small boutique called Let it Rock at number 430 Kings Road, Chelsea in London.
A year later, Vivienne’s interests had turned to biker clothing, zips, and leather. The shop re-branded with a skull and crossbones and was renamed Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die.
Vivienne and Malcolm began to design their own t-shirts with provocative printed slogans, which led to their prosecution under the 1959 Obscene Publications Act; they responded by re-branding the shop once again and producing even more t-shirts featuring hard-core images.
By 1974 the shop was renamed Sex, a shop “unlike anything else going on in England at the time” they used the slogan ‘rubberwear for the office’.
The early years
1981 – 1987
In 1984 the Nostalgia of Mud shop (now known as Worlds End) closes in West London and Vivienne relocates to Italy.
Vivienne receives an invitation to show her Spring-Summer 1984 ‘Hypnos’ collection in Tokyo at Hanae Mori’s ‘Best of Five’ global fashion awards, with Calvin Klein, Claude Montana, and Gianfranco Ferre.
Vivienne Westwood opens another London boutique on Davies Street in 1988.
In 1986 the orb logo was first used to symbolize taking tradition into the future.
Carlo D’Amario was appointed Managing Director of Vivienne Westwood Ltd in 1986.
The 1981 ‘Pirate’ Collection was Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s first official collaborative catwalk show. It informed the aesthetic of The World’s End Boutique with its pirate’s galleon and ship features. This collection was filled with romantic looks in gold, orange, and yellow which burst onto the London fashion scene, ensuring its place in the house’s history of influence.
‘We’ve only stopped to note significant innovations, otherwise, the ideas carry through and develop throughout the collections.’ ‘Pirates’, Autumn-Winter 1981/82 was their first catwalk show. Looking at plundering history and the Third World. The research was into historical dress, keeping the original cuts as fashion. Inspired by Native American patterns, the ‘Pirate’ trousers had a baggy bum, in complete contrast to hippy hipsters and ‘tight arses’ of the time. The position of the neck when worn, was asymmetrical.
The Pagan Years
1988 – 1992
John Fairchild’s 1989 book ‘Chic Savages’ features Vivienne in a list of the world’s top six designers along with Armani, Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, Lacroix and Ungaro.
Vivienne is appointed as Professor of Fashion at the Vienna Academy of Applied Arts from 1989 to 1991.
In December 1990, the Davies Street boutique opens in London’s Mayfair.
Vivienne receives an award for Fashion Designer of the Year for two years in a row in 1990 and 1991 by the British Fashion Council.
Vivienne receives an O.B.E at Buckingham Palace from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll in 1992.
Vivienne introduces wedding gowns into her collections in 1992.
In 1992, Vivienne is made an Honorary Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art (RCA).
Vivienne marries Andreas Kronthaler in 1993, whom she met in 1988 whilst teaching in Vienna.
During this period Vivienne’s heroes shifted from punks and ragamuffins to ‘Tatler’ girls wearing clothes that parodied the upper class. A chance encounter inspired one of her most important and influential collections, Autumn-Winter 1987 ‘Harris Tweed’. “My whole idea for this collection was stolen from a little girl I saw on the tube one day. She couldn’t have been more than 14. She had a little plaited bun, a Harris Tweed jacket, and a bag with a pair of ballet shoes in it. She looked so cool and composed standing there.”
1993 – 1999
Vivienne Westwood collaborates with Swatch to create the ‘Putti’ and ‘Orb’ watches in 1992/93.
A new boutique opens at 43 Conduit Street, in central London.
Vivienne is appointed Professor of Fashion at the Berliner Hochschule der Künste in 1993.
Vivienne channelled her creative nature into producing her own tartan for the ‘Anglomania’ Autumn-Winter 1993/94 collection and invented her own clan, MacAndreas. The Lochcarron of Scotland officially recognized the clan, which is a process that normally takes 200 years, a huge achievement for Vivienne.
A three-part Channel 4 series, Painted Ladies, was broadcast in 1996 examining the relationship between fashion and art. Vivienne looked at the costumes depicted in the art of the classical, mediaeval and renaissance periods.
Vivienne Westwood opens a new boutique at 44 Conduit Street, London in 1997.
Vivienne Westwood’s debut fragrance ‘Boudoir’ launches in 1998. It was developed in conjunction with world-famous ‘nose’, Martin Gras of Dragoco. “My perfume is called Boudoir. A boudoir is a dressing room and a place to get undressed. It signifies a woman’s space, a place where she is on intimate terms with herself, where she sees her faults and her potential” (Vivienne).
Vivienne Westwood Red Label launches in 1999. The prêt-à-porter line combines Vivienne’s continued interest in Savile Row tailoring and French couture.
The first Vivienne Westwood New York boutique opens in 1999.
The Vivienne Westwood MAN label launches in 1996 in Milan.
A Vivienne Westwood licensed boutique launches in Tokyo, Japan, a first outside of the UK.
‘Anglomania’ launches in 1998 as its own diffusion line, taking inspiration from the Vivienne Westwood archive collections. The youthful collection pays homage to Westwood’s iconic tailoring and draped silhouettes and includes styles from the SEX, Pirate, Mini-Crini and Bondage collections.
The exhibition ‘Vivienne Westwood: the collection of Romilly McAlpine’ opens at the Museum of London from April to June 2000.
The official e-commerce website www.viviennewestwood.com launches in 2001.
In 2002, Vivienne Westwood opens a boutique in Hong Kong and two in Korea.
Vivienne receives the UK Fashion Export Award for Design in June 2003.
In Autumn-Winter 2002/03, the Vivienne Westwood X Commes des Garçons collaboration launches in Japan and Milan through the Cosa Coma Comme shops.
Aoyama, the Japanese Vivienne Westwood womenswear flagship boutique opens in March 2003.
In 2003, the house collaborates with the English fine china, porcelain, and luxury accessories manufacturer Calport for the Westwood Home Collection.
A new Vivienne Westwood flagship boutique opens up in Milan, Italy in 2003.
In 2004 the Victoria and Albert Museum hosts a retrospective exhibition celebrating Vivienne Westwood’s contribution to fashion. This was their first exhibition of its kind.
Moet & Chandon Fashion Tribute honours Vivienne Westwood as the first fashion designer to have a solo exhibition at the V&A.
Vivienne Westwood begins a long-term collaboration with The Rug Company designing rugs and cushions in 2005.
Vivienne visits Buckingham Palace for a second time to meet his royal highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales to accept her Damehood in 2006.
Vivienne receives the Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Design award at the 2007 British Fashion Awards.
Omotesando, a Japanese Vivienne Westwood menswear flagship boutique, opens in October 2008.
Vivienne receives the Prince Philip Designers Prize in 2010.
The Made in Kenya collaboration launches in 2010, as a partnership with the United Nations in support of the Ethical Fashion Initiative and Artisan Fashion.
Climate Revolution, Vivienne’s activist team and website launches in 2010.
Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood
2016 – Present
The Vivienne Westwood New York and Paris flagship boutiques open their doors in 2016.
The Ginza Six flagship boutique opens in Japan in April 2017, with the same concept as Paris.
In 2018, the Vivienne Westwood collaboration with Burberry launches, in joint support of UK-based non-profit Cool Earth, who raise money to help protect the endangered rainforests, combat global warming, protect ecosystems and provide employment for local people.
A flagship boutique on Patterson Street in Hong Kong opens in November 2018.
The Asics X Vivienne Westwood three-year collaboration launches in April 2019.
The Vivienne Westwood X Vans Anglomania capsule collection launches in September 2019.
The Vivienne Westwood X Buffalo collaboration launches in May 2019.
The Vivienne Westwood X Eastpak ‘SAVE OUR OCEANS’ collection of bags and accessories launches in July 2020.
Vivienne Westwood partners with environmental not-for-profit Canopy for 2020 World Earth Day in their campaign to protect forests through fabric choices.
Both the Vivienne Westwood Shanghai and Beijing Flagship boutiques open in December 2021.
The last physical Vivienne Westwood mainline show took place at Autumn-Winter 2019 London Fashion Week. From then on it was decided to go digital, for environmental reasons.
Paris Fashion Week Autumn-Winter 2016 marked a new and exciting chapter for the house. Vivienne’s long-term husband Andreas Kronthaler debuted his first official collection there, under the name Andreas Kronthaler For Vivienne Westwood, replacing Gold Label forevermore. Vivienne Westwood mainline continues to produce bi-annual collections, shown separately.
“I have designed with Vivienne for more than 25 years. To add my name is to emphasise and clarify the differences between our lines. It is not a big change to the way we work but it will bring a new direction and I am happy and excited for the future.” – Andreas Kronthaler
“Over the years Andreas has taken on ever more responsibility and I wish this fact to be reflected in public perception.” – Vivienne Westwood
“We chose to separate our lines in order to clarify and reduce them. Gold Label became Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood, while Vivienne designs Vivienne Westwood Mainline, which includes Unisex – a way to reduce buying.” – Andreas Kronthaler