Vivienne Westwood, Punk and Post-Punk
From The Pretenders and the Sex Pistols , to Siouxsie and the Banshees, Dame Vivienne Westwood had a big influence on punk and post-punk. Her recent passing at the end of 2022 put the spotlight on her contribution to British music in the late 1970’s.
Let It Rock
Originally called Let It Rock, Westwood’s store went through multiple periods of rebranding before becoming SEX from 1974 to 1976, following a persecution under the 1959 Obscene Publications Act for collections of clothing with provocative slogans.
This was the era of Malcolm and Vivienne: Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood as a punk power couple.
SEX produced a white t-shirt which depicted Jesus Christ on the cross, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, a Swastika, and the word “destroy.”
In 1996, Westwood accepted an OBE from the late Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and wore a skirt suit with sheer tights, revealing she had gone without her knickers. God Save the Queen, indeed.
She leaves a big legacy for collectors, with the original punk pieces in the Victoria and Albert Museum, but many more at auction or doing the rounds online. Watch for her collaboration with Chrissie Hynde, leaning on the latter’s paintings. The Pistols’ most famous single recently gathered $24, 411 at auction.