Vivienne Westwood is a fashion designer from Great Britain who is popularly noted for her major contributions in the cultural revolution of punk and new-wave. In addition, she is one of the most influential designers of the twentieth century. In art history, Vivienne is always credited for her graphic interpretation of punk. However, punk is also believed to have originated from economic instability and the social issues of the 1970s. Punk is simply the youth’s way to air their grievances over the conventional culture and beliefs of 1970 London that appear to be too oppresive and predictable.
Viviennes creativity provided the avenue for an unconventional style in the mainstream fashion circuit. The punk movement has its diversities, since it is a culture, but Vivienne, together with Malcolm McClaren, manager of the Punk band Sex Pistols, have totally expressed its rebellious tendenciesand created a following through fashion. 2 The Revolt The intent of the Westwood’s Punk fashion was to be as rebellious and cynical as humanly possible. Conformists put on extra accessories aside from clothing to the Punk get-up to express a more rebellious attitude.
The style was inpspired Punk musician Richard Hell, who at the time was on a cultural revolt in New York. The early designs of Punk indicate intentional profanity such as Anarchy insignias. Plus portraits of Karl Marx and Joseph Stalin were also one of the early prints on shirts to imply demands on social change. Shirts and trousers at the time were cleaved as signs of protests to the formal and traditional lifestyle of the 60s and 70s. Tight pants in leather, denim, leopard skin patterns and tapered designs were introduced as part of the revolution against popular culture at the time which include bootleg and bell-bottom jeans.
Hair was deliberately messed as a reaction to the long, managed hairstyle of the Rock and Roll era. The rebellious intent of Vivienne’s Punk clothing also integrated the use of common objects for artistic reasons. Accessories like chains and razorblades were worn as jewelry to defy the norms of society at the time. The aftermath of Vivienne’s caused tremors that are still felt to the present. The unusual accessories and fabrics used were all for innovation and to give a shocking effect. The overall insinuations of the Punk style started by Vivienne were resistence and malcontentment from the dictatory state of society.
Ironically, Punk fashion was consumed by the very elements that it is fighting against, capitalism and popular culture. 3 New-Wave New-Wave is an era which flourished from the punk revolution of the late 1970s. It is the avant-garde to the popular popular culture of the 1970s. New-Wave is also as diverse as its ancestor , Punk, it branches from music, fashion down to expressions and advocacies. New wave is considered as a contraband to the hippie style of the preceding decade of the 70s which was the center of the norms of the later years of the decade. Vivienne Westwqood once again stretched out her unconventional style to an era of change.
New-Wave Fashion was also grounded from the perspective of the acknowledgement of the artificially manufactured materials which include spandex. Being a fashion revolution, New-Wave is a mixture of statement of belief in total change on the capitalist concumed methods and an aesthetic literary method in continuity with the enthrallment for manufacture of Popular Art. One of the major movements of the New-Wave fashion was the New-Romantic movement. According to music journalist Robert Christgau, the movement was focused on giving out more surreal effects through cosmetics and androgyny.
The term New-Wave in fashion constitutes change, the underlying principle similar to punk has made New-wave successful in its cause. Westwood’s uncinventional ideologies in fashion opened a portal to new dimensions of art and to new innovations and ideas. However, New-wave as a revolt in fashion sadly fell victim to what its fighting against, tradition and norms. 4 Vivienne Westwood is a genius of an artist and a visionary. In a time where popularity and the sense of beloningness is a what keeps the earth moving, she was able to spearhead change, and beginning with angst driven people, non-the-less.
The first impression I had on Punk fashion was, in a way, contradictory to the absolute truth about it. The primary knowledge I have about Punk is that the fashion is self expression of beliefs as a contradiction to the corporate takeover of almost every industry in the world hence, the clothing is made by the one who wears it, in accordance to the cause . However, it has come to my knowledge that Punk is now a commercialized culture. In this regard Punk has treacherously betrayed its basic principles which is the foundation for its advancement in the first place. Punk has become more of a unique selling point rather than a resistance.
On the other hand, New-Wave was formerly a mere musical genre that is categorized by the electronic sound most artists produced. I found out that New-Wave is an era of change to a popular-cultur-infested society. The context of New-Wave was also applied to other art forms such as literature and fashion. Moreover, New-Wave is a movement started by people who refused to be dictated by destiny or popular culture. Unfortunately, the technology and the catalysts of the New-Wave movement also brought the cause to its grave as New-Wave was gradually devoured by capitalism and commercialism.
The alternatives on what is culturally popular always end up being prey to its own predator. The advancements that aim to change end up being the next overrated lifestyle to be the center of resistance. After all, thats what they trully aim for, their voices heard. 5
Savage, Jon. “England’s Dreaming”, London: Faber & Faber. (1991) Price, Shannon. 2007. “Vivienne Westwood and the Post-Modern legacy of Punk style”. 13 December, 2007. <http://www. metmuseum. org/TOAH/HD/vivw/hd_vivw. htm> Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: “The Meaning of Style” Routledge, (1979)Sample Essay of Eduzaurus.com