Vivienne Westwood

Dame Vivienne Westwood (1941-2022)

Originating from humble beginnings, the Vivienne Westwood label has grown from its London store to an international phenomenon, sustaining its desirability through decades. The label is recognisable for its romantic punk style and stand-out motifs, such as the brand’s orb logo.

From a young age, Westwood was creative. She began to make clothes at the age of 12 and completed a brief time at Harrow Art School as a teen. In 1971, she opened her first shop, World’s End, at 430 Kings Road in London, which is still there to this day.

Westwood’s collections and shows were always centred around protest. In the 1970s, she championed a punk aesthetic, featuring graphic prints, tears, and rips in a highly finished way. In the 1980s and onwards, whilst the punk and protest did not leave Westwood’s brand, a softer style emerged. This softer style had a greater emphasis on romantic textures, alongside mainstays of the brand, such as corsetry.

Vivienne Westwood received much success and acclaim during her career, being awarded Fashion Designer of the Year by the British Fashion Council two years in a row, in 1990 and 1991. She also received an OBE in 1992, and was made a Dame in 2006.

Up until her passing, Westwood always remained at the centre of her brand’s creative vision. She was heavily involved at all stages, prioritising the quality of her items as opposed to quantity.

The Orb

Westwood’s iconic orb motif design is one rooted in nostalgia and innovation. The Royal significance of the orb relates back to the coronation of Charles II in 1662, for which newly commissioned crown jewels, including the royal orb, were used for the first time. The orb shape is then combined with an external ring, a component that was born from Westwood’s love of astrology, inspired by Saturn’s rings. The composite of the two, first appearing in the 1980s, is for many the representation of the past, the present, and the future.

Today the orb has been reimagined into several varieties, demonstrated in Lot 348 and Lot 350 in our upcoming Designer Collection auction. Both of these lots take the classic orb design of the 1980s and fuse it with floral and heart-shaped motifs. Other noteworthy pieces include Lot 351, which includes a charm modelled on the infamous Super Elevated Gillie heels worn by Naomi Campbell for Westwood in 1993.

Shopping at auction is a more sustainable way of buying something which was very close to her heart. Vivienne Westwood was always concerned about environmental issues and championed sustainability.

Vivienne Westwood sadly passed away in December 2022, aged eighty-one. She leaves behind an enduring legacy that will continue to be an integral part of the Vivienne Westwood brand.

Vivienne Westwood at Auction

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD - a horseshoe pendant on chain.

Lot 347

Estimate £40 – £60

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD – a horseshoe pendant on chain.

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD - a paste pendant with chain, together with a pair of paste earrings.

Lot 348

Estimate £30 – £50

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD – a paste pendant with chain, together with a pair of paste earrings.

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD - a pink and purple enamel large band ring.

Lot 349

Estimate £40 – £60

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD – a pink and purple enamel large band ring.

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD heart orb

Lot 350

Estimate £50 – £80

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD – two pieces of jewellery.

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD - two shoe charms.

Lot 351

Estimate £30 – £50

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD – two shoe charms.

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