Any self-professed fashion connoisseur knows the name Vivienne Westwood as one of the more iconic designers of the modern era. Since the 80s, Westwood's brand has amassed a rather large following through her trend-defying designs and celebrity clientele. Below, Blake Lively wears one of Westwood's stunning gowns on the red carpet.
Vivienne Westwood's been a figure in the fashion industry to watch for a while, but her recent designs and popularity amongst social figures just launched her and her brand back into the public's eye.
The History of Vivienne Westwood: The Brand
Vivienne Westwood made a name for herself through her eccentric, biker-esque style that laid in stark contrast to the hippie movement in the late 1960s. The designer turned her interests to leather, zips, and adopted a more “rebellious” style -- her store, then situated on Kings Road, was renamed Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die. While their main source of income was sales of their scandalously typographed clothing, leading to subsequent legal action, the brand reemerged as a Punk-Rock lover's paradise while branching out into more opulent designs, leading to an empire that's endured since around the 1960s.
While Westwood's been a relatively popular figure in the fashion world since her brand's inception, there's been an increased focus on her work since multiple celebrities were spotted wearing her designs and one of the world's most loved jewelry pieces was discovered to be a part of her latest endeavors.
In the past year, high-calibre artists and models like Dua Lipa, Harry Styles, and Bella Hadid have stepped out in the designer's clothes, launching her back into the spotlight. British Vogue calls Westwood's brand “the Modern It-Girls brand of choice.” She's always been a figure respected by the fashion community for her pieces, an amalgamation of old, French corseted silhouettes and modern riotgrrrl-esque design, but her recent pieces have been somewhat of a divergence from that norm.
Arguably her most popular piece at the moment is the iconic pearl necklace with her signature planet pendant, and the small design has almost taken over the internet. While the designer's unique design first grew in popularity on social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram, it soon became a phenomenon after being spotted on singer Madison Beer on multiple occasions. The piece has since gone out of stock multiple times, almost unheard of in high-fashion retailers, and returned in rose gold and silver after the spike in popularity.
Couture Weddings are Also In
Vivienne Westwood hasn't only become the newest trendsetter for Instagram models and fashionistas, but she's also recently made a pretty big mark on the wedding dress industry. Perhaps it's worthy to note that, if you weren't aware, most of your favorite recently married social icons probably had their dress designed by Westwood, especially if they got married in the past year. Westwood's bridal collection claims to be reminiscent of old, Ancient Greek styled silhouettes. They're made to “drape,” make the bride look somewhat ethereal.
Westwood was the go-to designer for two of the arguably most high-profile weddings within the past year, at least within the entertainment industry: both Miley Cyrus and Hailey Baldwin-Bieber opted to purchase their wedding dress from the British designer. Both of the pieces were created on relatively short notice in the designers London atelier: prime real-estate for one of the most popular new couture designers.
So, I'm Not a Billionaire. Can I Still Wear Westwood?
Evidently, couture sometimes feels a little unattainable. Especially with the modern economy on the low and high levels of unemployment, it feels reckless to assert that you need to spend hundreds of dollars on Westwood couture to become the next “It-Girl.” While we probably wish it, this is unfortunately not the world of CW's Gossip Girl where teenagers are shopping at Barneys.
But, if you're looking for something to maybe spruce up your jewelry collection this Christmas season, Westwood's jewelry is arguably some of the more affordable couture pieces out there. Westwood's iconic Mini Bas Relief Choker, available in silver and rose-gold, retails for about $150. Other, simpler pieces run for under $60 on their website, which while not cheap, isn't bad for a couture piece.
If you're looking for something to mimic that style but don't want to drop the cash, the newfound popularity of the necklace encouraged an onslaught of copycats. Brands like EVRY Jewels released their own take on the piece, changing the design to better fit their demographic. Evidently, you don't have to drop $200 on a necklace to be trendy, and rebellious styles are available almost everywhere.
The Westwood style, persay, may be the “in” amongst up-and-coming celebrities, but Westwood's style is an aesthetic that anyone can recreate with even just a black tube top from your favorite sustainable brand!