This lecture considers the role of historicism and the reworking of 'classics' or fashion types as a means to generate new meanings for fashion. Vivienne Westwood is the focus, a designer whose process is informed by surviving artefacts, representations of dress, and allusion to history, zeitgeist (mood), and socio-cultural change. The clothes that emerge are never copies but fantasies of fashion moments that are mythical and romantic. The unity of pre-war dressing is replaced by the fragmentation of the body. The shoes no longer have to match the bag.
DR PETER McNEIL is Professor of Design History at the University of Technology Sydney and Distinguished Professor, Aalto University, Finland. He is the author of numerous publications including ten works on fashion, including the best-selling Shoes, also translated into Italian (with Giorgio Riello 2006; 2011). Current book projects include the ‘long’ history of luxury, supported by the UK Leverhulme Trust and fashion writing from the 17th century to the present day.
Vivienne Westwood, 1994 S/S Collection: Cafe Society