At the FIDM Museum, we’re delighted to showcase our objects in exhibitions both locally and abroad. We’ve talked about our participation in Reigning Men at LACMA and Oscar de la Renta at the de Young Museum, and last month one of our pieces joined Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, currently on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The exhibition explores both the utilitarian and seductive purposes of underwear – how these garments shape the body and relate to the fashionable silhouette. Our Museum sent an object that combines elements of historicism, religion, satire, and sexuality in its relatively simple design, creating a bold and shocking garment that could only belong to one woman: Vivienne Westwood.
Westwood’s devoted fan base knows that the British designer is no stranger to controversy. She was a key player in London’s burgeoning punk scene in the 1970s; her infamous boutique on King’s Road sold irreverent counter-culture clothing that represented the punk movement’s anti-authority missive. Political activism inherently became part of Westwood’s design aesthetic. In these early years, she turned to the past for inspiration, as she would throughout her career, incorporating the look of Teddy Boys and the 1950s music scene into her punk-rock designs. Her first runway collections in the 1980s were also heavily influenced by historic themes, from pirates and witches to corsets and cage crinolines.
Vivienne Westwood leggings on display at the V&A; picture via Style Bubble