Vivienne Westwood’s comments beggar belief

117028634 188x300 Vivienne Westwood’s comments beggar beliefIt seems rather unfair of Vivienne Westwood to hit out at the UK populace, saying that we have never dressed as badly as we do today. While, admittedly, I am no fashion guru, and agree that there is a certain similarity between the discordant fashions of the day, it seems fair to argue that we’ve actually never had it so good.

The septuagenarian said, “In history, people dressed much better than we do today. If you saw Queen Elizabeth it would be amazing, she came from another planet.”

But Queen Elizabeth had the finest dress-makers and tailors in the country. She would have had her choice of the finest materials, the softest silks – the shiniest satins and the most voluminous velvets known to man. With all the money in the world, looking good is easy.

What Westwood forgets is that for the Queen to have all these accoutrements the majority of her people lived in poverty. Again, we have one of the elite forgetting that the 99 per cent don’t have Mary Poppins handbags or bottomless wallets.

Most of Queen Elizabeth’s subjects would have worn pretty shoddy clothes by comparison with today: picture hessian sacks, with rope tied round the middle, or Baldrick from Blackadder. For the designer to accuse the majority of the country as being conformist, while harking back to an age where variety was for a privileged few literally beggars belief.

You only have to take a short walk down any high street to witness the menagerie of prancing peacocks that make up the diverse crazes of the British public today. There has never been so much variety in fashion.

When you strip away the feathers, and get down to the real velour, we are privy to the fact that fashion is intimately linked with money. The poor spend a huge amount of their income trying to look like their celebrity icons. It is easy to forget that these false gods have it easy style-wise. They have millions of pounds to spend on brand-clothing, and if they don’t like any of those brands, they can make their own. They can hire make-up artists, style gurus, hairdressers; a veritable army of servants to help them look good.

The regular hoi polloi have to assemble their ensemble as best they can from Primark, discount stores and the sales. Yet the fashion elite have the nerve to say: “People have never looked so ugly as they do today.”

What a corker Viv.

Now, this might not be completely fair. Vivienne Westwood has always been on the cutting edge of fashion. An industry legend, even. Yet coming out of her latest show during London Fashion Week the age-old phrase, ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ could easily spring to mind.

So, before harking back to a bygone era, maybe you should appreciate that you’ve never had it so good? At the tender age of 70, Dame Westwood should count her lucky stars that we are in an age where people  can indulge in myriad fashions and trends that were once the province of a select few.

So before you go knocking the regular Joes out on the high street, please spare a thought to those on squeezed incomes, worried about unemployment and job cuts, stuck on the dole, or in debt. It may not be as bad as the days of serfdom, but buying the latest fashions is still a luxury that only the rich can consistently afford.

I will eagerly await Vivienne Westwood’s hessian range for the squeezed middle, complete with dung-ball accessories, modelled by Tony Robinson in next year’s London Fashion Week.

Tagged in: , ,
  • Chris Marshall

    I wish she’d just hurry up and die.

    Just my opinion, I’m sure she’d understand.

  • Ledzep5

     Yes we damned well are.

  • Polarijs

    Did Ms Westwood take a good look in the mirror that morning?
    Her carrot-orange dyed hair, pulled back in a disordered ponytail is anything BUT stylish.

  • Brodric

    She is absolutely right.

    Perhaps I would not have noticed had I not been living in Europe for a decade.  When I returned I was depressed by the ugliness of “fashion”.  So many hoodies in drab colours; jeans frayed at the bottoms because they are so long they get walked on (yuck); shapeless tops and trousers alongside silly frilly layered clothing not suited for biggish people.

    I was offended to travel on public transport and find blue-mottled cold love handles thrust in my face by those standing.  A generally grungy look, even on people who were not grungy.

    And what is this about wearing pyjamas to the supermarket? 

    This is not about poverty.  It is about copying the kind of chav, hip-hop and casual culture which has permeated our society.

    I am all for comfy casual clothing..but not 24/7.  

    What happened to the Britain that led the way in fashion?

  • B

    “…assemble their ensemble as best they can from Primark, discount stores and the sales”. Nonsense. Anyone with brains and real style knows shopping in charity shops is where you get the good stuff. Primark is only where to get vest tops and socks at the best of times.

  • B

    Well said!

  • jon b

    She looks like an extra from the Evil Dead…

  • frglee

    A few people dressed well in the time of Elizabeth 1 – the rest,I suspect,looked and smelled like Baldrick!

  • oscar8

    Miss Westwood is 100% correct. It isn’t all about having an abundance of disposable cash to spend on clothes, it’s about spending the money that you do have in a more imaginative manner. Unfortunately, the younger generations today appear to lack any initiative and are more than willing to wear the same clothes from the same generic high street shop. In fact, I’d be surprised if the average high street shopper today has even heard of Vivienne Westwood.

  • joaniejj

    Methinks Ms Westwood speaks the truth!
    There has never been an easier time to be able to dress well than the present. Even for those on a budget, if you care about the way that you look and make the effort to check out charity shops and sales, good style is certainly not the preserve of the rich. Whenever I visit London I find it so depressing to see the oceans of people draped in the ubiquitous uniform of shapeless jeans, dark coloured fleeces and ill fitting mediocre suits. bleah!

Most viewed



Property search
Browse by area

Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter