Vivienne Westwood at the De Young Museum

I was so excited about the Vivienne Westwood exhibition at the De Young Museum that I had to go and see it the very morning it opened. In honor of the occasion, I even put together a look to pay homage to the imaginative designer. I put on a backless tweed vest (nothing underneath), tan trousers, and riding boots and tossed a cashmere cardigan on top. I encircled my eyes with black, and put on blood-colored lipstick. As I left, I thought, I probably should have spiked out my hair and ripped up the pants, but the cardigan has a lot of holes in it, and I figured that would do.

So I was actually surprised, when I saw the exhibition, that I wasn’t so far off from the real Vivienne Westwood look. The punk fashion clothes she pioneered were still daring and outrageous, including the infamous gay cowboys Dance shirt. But she followed that with a period of mocking upscale British clothes, and nothing I put on had cost me more than $60, so there you go… I was also surprised how many of her ideas had trickled into my wardrobe via knock-offs. I had a tube skirt once, as well as a houndstooth miniskirt. By the time she got into the mid-1990s, Vivienne Westwood was taking historical fashion and twisting it into the 20th century. I thought the stuff looked pretty wearable, but what do I know? I still remember the day (in the mid-1990s) I wore a corset to work. No one spoke to me all day, except for the gay guys.

And yes, the show had the outrageous platform shoes and the 2005 bondage dress (which didn’t look all that binding on the runway, but then it may have just been worn by a particularly competent runway model.) I had to give up my audio tour to Neil because Kelly was fussing too much. Neil feigned boredom with the clothes, but when I exited, I found Neil discussing diamonds with a clerk in the exhibition shop.

In any case, I’ll go back to see the show again. And in the meantime, I’ve gotten some neat ideas on inserting more Viv Westwood into the wardrobe I have.

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