A fast, funny documentary on the life, looks and times of the British fashion designer, business woman, environmental activist – and unreconstructed punk – Vivienne Westwood.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2018
Dame Vivienne Westwood, Britain’s most iconic and iconoclastic fashion designer, emerged from the punk movement in the 1970s but has always drawn deeply from historical sources in her collections.
Those most familiar with Westwood’s well-documented punk back-story might be surprised to find the septuagenarian subject is too bored with it to repeat the familiar stories to director Lorna Tucker. But Tucker has deftly turned potential chaos – a reluctant interviewee squirming in her chair – into the anchor for her portrait: a compelling insight into what it is to be the aging head of a major, and fiercely independent, fashion house that continues to grow, perhaps faster than she can handle.
Using great archival footage with commentary from friends and family, curators, back of house staff, models, Teutonic husband/design partner Andreas Kronthaler and above all a blunt and caustic Westwood herself, Tucker has managed to craft an engaging rags to riches to rags to riches story that is as much about the nuts and bolts of the business of fashion as it is about Westwood’s own inimitable sense of style. — Angela Lassig