Vivienne Westwood's Personal Wardrobe Is Heading To Auction

The groundbreaking sale of Vivienne Westwood’s personal wardrobe collection will be raising funds for various causes that the late designer supported. 

It’s been nearly two years since British fashion legend Vivienne Westwood passed away, and the industry has never been the same. After all, not many people can claim to have had the kind of influence she did, both in the world of couture (as the queen of punk style) and activism. Many knew the designer for her strong stances on issues like climate change. Her legacy of supporting various causes continues even after her passing, as Christie’s will be holding the fundraising auction Vivienne Westwood: The Personal Collection Part I on June 25, 2024.

Vivienne Westwood at her Spring-Summer 2019 show
Vivienne Westwood at her Spring-Summer 2019 show/Photo via Instagram @viviennewestwood

Proceeds from the auction will be going to charities that Westwood supported throughout her life, including “The Vivienne Foundation, Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Greenpeace,” wrote Christie’s in an official statement. The auction will also have a “Part II” in the form of an online sale from June 14 to 28, 2024. 

READ ALSO: A Personal Tribute: Vivienne Westwood’s Own Wardrobe Featured At Paris Fashion Week

Inside The Wardrobe

Westwood’s personal collection for the auction will consist of garments, shoes, and jewelry from her eponymous fashion label, all of which are “the most important iconic looks that she created and wore during the last four decades of her life,” Christie’s added in its statement. 

One of the oldest groups of pieces in the auction is the Witches collection for autumn/winter 1983/84. According to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, it was the designer’s last collaboration with her former partner Malcolm McLaren before she set out on her own to create her famous brand. The collection features quintessential British tweed and elements of witchcraft, and take inspiration from Keith Haring’s “cult-like” drawings. 

L-R: A dress from "Dressed to Scale" (Autumn/Winter 1998/99); a two-piece ensemble from the ‘Witches’ Collection (Autumn/Winter 1983); a dress and apron set from the ‘Propaganda’ Collection (Autumn/Winter 2005/06)
L-R: A dress from “Dressed to Scale” (Autumn/Winter 1998/99); a two-piece ensemble from the ‘Witches’ Collection (Autumn/Winter 1983); a dress and apron set from the ‘Propaganda’ Collection (Autumn/Winter 2005/06)/Photos from the Christie’s website

That said, there are a couple of mementos that aren’t fashion items, including a set of playing cards that the late designer created in 2017 to encourage people to protect the planet, THE BIG PICTURE – Vivienne’s Playing Cards: Collect the cards. Connect the cards.

On the cards, Christie’s wrote: “The prints poignantly shed light on pressing issues facing humankind, such as climate change, social inequality, and human rights. Shortly before she died, Dame Vivienne selected ten of the most powerful graphics from her 2017 ‘playing cards’ series to be enlarged and set about signing the precious large-scale ‘cards’ on which these designs would be printed posthumously.”

READ ALSO: Remembering the Queen of Punk: London Fashion Week 2023 Kicked Off With A Vivienne Westwood Memorial

For the Planet, For the People

As mentioned, Westwood was also an activist who supported a number of sustainability and environmental preservation causes. Her namesake organization, The Vivienne Foundation, partners with different non-government organizations (NGOs) to “halt climate change, stop war, defend human rights, and protest capitalism,” according to its official website

Their activities include lobbying for legal changes with the help of NGOs, scientists, and other experts to get the government to implement changes that actually make an impact. “We cannot achieve systemic change without government cooperation. The only way we can save ourselves is with government help and our strategy must be put into law,” Westwood once said in a statement. 

Vivienne Westwood in a climate change protest
Vivienne Westwood in a climate change protest/Photo from the Vivienne Foundation website

The designer spent most of her life donating to different climate change groups, from large charities to grassroots organizations. She was also an ambassador of Greenpeace for many years, and had launched a global campaign under the organization to stop drilling and industrial fishing. 

“For Vivienne, activism was her life. She didn’t compartmentalize it. Fashion here, campaigning there. In fact, she always said everything is connected,” shared John Sauven, the former executive director of Greenpeace U.K., reports Verity Babbs of Artnet. “Fashion. Art. Education. Activism. And she managed to fuse it all together in extraordinary ways.”

Banner photo via Instagram @viviennewestwood.

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