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PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 04:  Vivienne Westwood and models walk the runway during the Vivienne Westwood Ready to Wear Autumn/Winter 2011/2012 show during Paris Fashion Week at Pavillon Concorde on March 4, 2011 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)© Pascal Le Segretain

Dame Vivienne Westwood’s personal wardrobe is going up for auction

40-years worth of the designer's clothing archive is going under the hammer

Natalie Salmon
Fashion Digital Editor
June 9, 2024
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Dame Vivienne Westwood's clothing is set to go under the hammer, and it's an event that’s set to be as fabulously rebellious as the woman herself. 

The late fashion designer, who passed away on December 29 2022, left behind more than just her legacy and signature ‘regency-punk’ aesthetic. She also amassed an incredible collection of garments.

This two-piece suit from Vivienne Westwood's archive is one of the many outfits up for auction that was once owned by the late designer© Christie's
This two-piece suit from Vivienne Westwood's archive is one of the many outfits up for auction that was once owned by the late designer

The auction offers a peek into Westwood's personal wardrobe, showcasing some of her most iconic looks from the last four decades. All items, from garments to shoes and jewellery, are from her eponymous fashion house and hold significant historical and cultural value. The earliest piece dates back to the Witches collection from autumn/winter 1983/84.

MORE: How the fashion world has reacted to Dame Vivienne Westwood’s death

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Part I of the live auction will also feature THE BIG PICTURE – Vivienne’s Playing Cards: Collect the cards. These prints, part of a 2017 project dubbed ‘A Strategy 2 Save the World,’ highlight pressing global issues such as climate change, social inequality, and human rights. 

Vivienne's 'Playing Cards' are expected to fetch up to £50,000 at auction© Christie's
Vivienne's 'Playing Cards' are expected to fetch up to £50,000 at auction

Shortly before her death, Westwood chose ten powerful graphics from her series to be enlarged and printed posthumously. This project, overseen by The Vivienne Foundation, will raise funds for NGOs, fulfilling her final wishes.

Known as one of Britain’s most influential fashion designers, Westwood wasn't just about fashion; she was a fierce advocate for social and environmental causes. The proceeds will go to several causes dear to Westwood’s heart, including The Vivienne Foundation, Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Greenpeace.

MORE: Mourners are laying flowers outside Dame Vivienne Westwood's iconic Worlds End boutique

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For those eager to explore this iconic collection, there’s more than just the chance to purchase her incredible pieces. Christie’s will host a free exhibition celebrating Westwood’s life and legacy. The event, Radical Thinking: A celebration of Vivienne Westwoodtakes place on Thursday 20 June and will showcase the items from her wardrobe that are being auctioned; featuring garments, jewellery, and accessories from her fashion house. Set against a backdrop of fashion, punk iconography, and contemporary art, the event will include panel discussions, performances, and workshops. However, be sure to register on Christie's Lates, as entry is on a first-come, first-served basis once capacity is reached.

Vivienne Westwood on day three of London Fashion Week SS13© Getty
Vivienne Westwood on day three of London Fashion Week SS13

Westwood's journey from a small boutique called Let it Rock in 1971, co-founded with Malcolm McLaren, to her revolutionary runway shows, highlights her extraordinary career as a designer. Her first runway show in 1981, the Pirate collection, brought a burst of romanticism to the London fashion scene, marking a significant shift in her design philosophy. She began to draw inspiration from traditional Savile Row tailoring and historical British art.

The auction is a testament to Westwood's enduring influence on fashion and culture. Her personal collection of clothes are a celebration of a life lived boldly, and a legacy that continues to inspire.

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