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book club: vivienne westwood

anglomania is still alive and well in taschen's new retrospective.

by: ray siegel

January 31 2013

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If there's any one designer responsible, and perhaps singlehandedly, for the fusion of high fashion and subversive culture it's Vivienne Westwood. Make room for another big one on your coffee table because Taschen has just released Vivienne Westwood, a new book about the designer curated by ID Magazine's Terry Jones highlighting the designer's contributions to punk chic since the early '80s.

The book documents her heavy impact on fashion (can you say crinoline?) through past features and interviews, capturing just how unique a designer Westwood was and is. As she best puts it on her site, "On the English side we have tailoring and an easy charm, on the French side that solidity of design and proportion that comes from never being satisfied because something can always be done to make it better, more refined." Her viewpoint may sound so simple, but her work speaks for itself: it's just plain innovative.

Rarely seen Juergen Teller photos aside, the best part of the book are in-depth interviews with Westwood, who has a lot to say about everything, often unrelated to fashion--why femininity is important, her campaign against the Iraq war, British government (she calls Tony Blair a monster), and why she's not an anarchist anymore. We agree with her viewpoint on most things, but we'll opt to stay away from her diet tips which includes "a few nibbles of an apple or alfalfa sprouts with olive oil" if she gets hungry. To read for yourself, buy it at Taschen.com.

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