Vivienne Westwood: interview

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Dame Vivienne Westwood made London the world’s capital of punk style in the late ’70s and remains one of fashion’s most cherished talents; she’s one of Time Out London’s 40th birthday heroes

  • See all Time Out's 40th birthday London heroes

    Who are your London heroes?

    ‘The Queen. I mean I know she’s the whole country but London would be terrible without her. All these politically correct, so-called left-wing people, I mean I just think they don’t think things through. And if you imagine it without the Queen and all the stuff that goes with it, it just would be quite boring without that as a context for everything – The Mall and the flags, I think it’s lovely. Even Buckingham Palace. You are supposed to think it’s dreadful but I think it’s good. And Neil MacGregor from the British Museum.’

    What’s the most important thing that’s happened in fashion over the past 40 years?

    ‘Punk – you can’t say anything else. I was walking down the street in rubber negligées and high-heel stiletto shoes at a time when other people were wearing denim, flares and platforms. You felt very heroic. I knew I looked good.’

    What is the future of fashion?

    ‘Apparently London is half going to be under water in 20 years! The collection I show in London is sexy and street; it reminds me of a binge drinker or something. Somebody who goes out on a Saturday night and they want to dress up a bit.’

    What’s your favourite place in London?

    ‘The Wallace Collection. The French art that’s in the Wallace Collection, well, there’s nothing like it. It was collected at a time when it wasn’t valuable soon after the Revolution. I always say it’s the best school of art in the country.’

    What does Time Out mean to you?

    ‘I read it for the theatre reviews. I love the theatre. She’s really good, Jane Edwardes.’

    Complete the sentence: London is…

    ‘…my home, it’s where I live. There’s nowhere else like London. Nothing at all, anywhere. Paris is much more beautiful to look at. The French have got taste. If there’s a monument, it’s placed properly and really considered. London is really sprawling and if they’ve got a lovely monument they put it around a corner where you can’t find it. It’s all higgledy-piggledy.’
    See all Time Out's 40th birthday London heroes

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Jitka Herynkova
Jitka Herynkova

After having read comments on Time Out and London, I dare to share my impression from 1991, when I stayed in London on Masaryk Fellowship for six months: London. Their London my London our London.London! Poetry in motion emotion emotions motion crowd running walking idle hurry ignoring tolerant intolerant anonymous determine motion people motion men people man the man love desire complete total free happy desperate none I and I and they and we and more and more and never. Ever. Noises staccato voices coloures funny fun shadows and sun.Time. Rebirth. Song never ceasing. London.