When it comes to the world of high couture it’s generally all a bit snobby, stuffy, elitist and conservative. Think Phantom Thread, and then some. When Vivienne Westwood came along it was a shock for the industry. They tried ignoring her. They tried humiliating her. But, she would never give in, eventually gaining the recognition and respect she deserved. Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, the debut film from Lorna Tucker, tells her story in her own (rather grumpy) words.
You can tell from the very start that Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist isn’t going to be your standard fashion documentary. Sure, there are clothes in it, but the focus is more Vivienne and her partner Andreas Kronthaler’s relationship to the fashion than the garments themselves. Then there’s her life. Her time with her ex-husband Malcolm Mclaren, her influence on the punk movement and her campaigning for numerous causes.
The story of Vivienne Westwood’s life is a fascinating one. She’s been through so much and had to fight tooth and nail for everything she’s got. The interviews with her sons and Andreas are enlightening, but it’s Vivienne’s willingness to be brutally honest which gifts the greatest insights. Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist is a little rough around the edges, much like its eccentric subject. That’s what gives them both their charm.
Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist opens in cinemas on 23 March.