Wednesday, 7 January 2015

1970s Innovators: Von Furstenberg and Westwood

Diane Von Furstenberg: Von Furstenberg's invention of the wrap dress encapsulated the liberation of female fashion of the 1970s. The absence of zips and buttons gave women an unrestricting and feminine alternative. The simple slogan 'Feel like a woman, Wear a dress' shot the designer to fame and sale of the dress topped $5 million. The simple jersey dress became one of the best selling garments of all time. Speaking about her design she remarked ' the wrap dress is the most traditional form of dressing: it's like a robe, a kimono, a toga, it doesn't have buttons or zippers. What made it different was that it was jersey; it made every woman look like a feline. And that's how it happened.'. The simplicity and ease of the design appeared to be just what women were looking for not just in fashion but in their lifestyle as well. Woman wanted to dress for themselves and Von Furstenberg gave them what they want. Having made the cover of Newsweek magazine in 1976 she was deemed to be 'the most marketable designer since Coco Chanel'. Von Furstenberg is still in limelight with her own show on E! House of DVF which sees aspiring designers compete for a chance to work with the designer.

Vivienne Westwood: Westwood injected confrontation in to clothes of the 1970s. She showed punk enthusiasts what to wear and not to care. Punk was born from street style not the pages of magazines. Westwood and Malcolm McLaren turned their 50s revival shop in to a fetish haven under the name 'SEX' the shop delivered fashion guidance to the rebellious sub culture. At the heart of Punk was Westwood's use of fashion as a medium to express political frustration with unemployment, lack of opportunity and recession. Westwood  created human spectacles on the streets of London putting it back on the fashion map where it made its name in the swinging 60's. No Punk was complete without safety pins, sewn up zips, steel chains, PVC, tartan and a few intentional tears. Westwood compared her fashion  rebellion to that of Coco Chanel "Chanel probably designed for the same reasons I do: irritation with orthodox ways of thinking. She was a street fashion designer.".  Westwood's rebellious character of the 70's would probably sneer at the iconic fashion figure she is today. However she remains true to herself producing pieces that combine historical fashion with topical and controversial issues.

Vivienne Westwood SS15

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