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The recent opening of the Vivienne Westwood boutique in Los Angeles has only made us miss the designer's gone-but-not-forgotten Soho shop even more. Westwood's reps claim that New York will eventually be getting another branch of her eponymous store, but in the meantime, we can get our fix of Dame Westwood's designs at The Museum at FIT's fabulous exhibit: Vivienne Westwood, 1980-89.
The show, which runs through April 2nd, is the first museum exhibition to focus exclusively on Vivienne Westwood's transformation from punk provocateur to high-end fashion designer. You won't see any of her early Let it Rock Teddy Boy pieces, nor any of the designer's legendary bondage trousers, like those the Sex Pistols made famous—before Hot Topic brought copies of them to your local mall. Instead, the show kicks off with designs and photos from Westwood's first actual collection, Pirates, created with her then partner—and Sex Pistols manager—Malcolm McLaren, under their World's End moniker.
The show is broken into three sections: In the Press, which includes early magazine coverage of her work from trendy British periodicals like The Face and i-D; In the Streets & On TV, which focuses on how her clothing from this period was worn by musicians like Bow Wow Wow and Boy George; and On the Runway, which consists of fashions from the Pirates, Punkature, Civilizade, Time Machine, Harris Tweed, Nostaligia of Mud and Buffalo collections (the last of which directly inspired part of Gwen Stefani's Fall/Winter 2011 L.A.M.B. show.)
Our favorites items in the exhibit are the Statue of Liberty corset and skirt, the rare film clips of Vivienne Westwood and her collections, and a wooden Rocking Horse Boot, from a pair which actually rock back and forth when you wear them.
When you go to the show, make sure to also check out the museum's other current exhibits: His & Hers, which illustrates how gender has been portrayed in men's and women's clothing from the 18th century through today (it also includes a couple of Westwood's designs), and Japan Fashion Now, an exhibit which shows that Japanese designers are creating some of today's edgiest and most creative designs.
· Vivienne Westwood 1980-89 [The Museum at FIT]
· Vivienne Westwood [Official Site]