VIVIENNE WESTWOOD 《CHAOS》Showcase @ Wellington Street Boutique

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD held a 《CHAOS》Showcase at its Wellington Street  Boutique recently to celebrate the ingenuity and creativity of British fashion designer and to coincide with the annual exhibition, “PUNK: Chaos to Couture”, launched in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art last month. The Chaos Showcase at Vivienne Westwood boutique in Wellington Street will be showcasing the signature pieces that represent different career and design stages of the Queen of Punk. In this Showcase, exhibits range from the infamous Urban Guerrilla bondage trousers suit from 1977, to the recent Climate Revolution Uniform from SS2013 collection. It also features the Gainsborough Palladium Fine Jewellery which is inspired by the trompe l’oeil technique in the Baroque period. It is worth to highlight that this collection is showed and available for sale in Hong Kong for the very first time.
Born on 8th April 1941, Vivienne’s career began not in fashion, but as a school teacher in North London. In 1965, she met Malcolm McLaren and embarked on her revolutionary career in fashion. Their collaboration lay at the heart of punk culture - his desire to push the boundaries of contemporary society and her ability to translate these ideas into clothing. In 1971, they opened their legendary store on the King’s Road, London. Opening as Let it Rock, the store went through a number of transitions including Too fast To Live, Too Young To Die (1972), SEX (1974) and Seditionaries (1977), ending with its current incarnation as World’s End from 1980.
The Seditionaries shop first sold Vivienne Westwood’s now infamous urban guerrilla uniform bondage trousers suit with Seditionary boots. Often executed in class tartan with military and tribal references, Vivienne Westwood’s clothes quickly became a symbol of 1970’s disenfranchised youth. Offering square t-shirts (as though made from a pillow case) Westwood captured the punk ethic of “Do It Yourself” still heavily referenced today in her collection sand personal manifesto. Featuring an upside down photograph of London’s Piccadilly Circus, the Seditionaries shop came to epitomize anarchy and chaos – turning the establishment on its head.
In 1981, Westwood showed her Pirates collection for the first time on the catwalk, kick-starting the New Romantic movement, subsequent collections introduced tube skirts and trainers to the catwalk, cementing her presence at the forefront of innovative design. After parting ways with McLaren in 1984, Vivienne Westwood’s inspiration grew from subversion to the meticulo0us study of historical dress, traditional British fabrics and Savile Row tailoring techniques. Showing a particular interest in 17th and 18th century dress, Vivienne drew inspiration from the Commedia dell’arte (Baroque theatre) and the works of Antoine Watteau, the French rococo painter. Examples of 17th and 18th century influences in Westwood’s more recent Palladium fine jewellery collection are shown within this exhibition.
The collections Vive la Cocotte (AW95/96) and Les Femmes ne Connaissent pas toute leur Coquetterie (SS96) (‘Women do not understand the full extent of their coquettishness’) focused on provocative 17th century style designs exaggerating the female form with padded busts and bustles. The centre-piece dress of the Les Femmes collection echoes the gowns seen in Watteau’s paintings, subverting the original in being asymmetrical and partially off the shoulder.
Slogans have been prominent throughout Vivienne Westwood’s career – from 1970’s punk t-shirts to her more recent couture collection. Since Westwood’s AW05/06 Propaganda collection to today’s Climate Revolution (SS13), her collection shave been used as a medium to discuss politics and culture, more specifically the urgent need to act against climate change.
Apart from the fashion pieces, the wallpapers are also one of the key attractions. Near the entrance is an upside down photograph of London’s Piccadilly Circus, which is a re-creation of Vivienne Westwood’s Seditionaries boutique in the 1970’s. While strolling up the staircase to the 1/F, one cannot miss the eye-catching Trompe l’oeil Drape wallpaper which pattern imitates Vivienne’s renowned tartan wedding dress presented by Kate Moss in the AW1993/94 Anglomania collection catwalk showAdmission free and exhibition ends 31 August 2013.

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