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Westwood's Way

LONDON — They came in pirate hats with feathers as tall as sunflower stalks, curvy dresses with bustles and spiky punk hairdos. The party to kick off the Vivienne Westwood exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum was a champagne-fueled...

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Vivienne Westwood

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LONDON — They came in pirate hats with feathers as tall as sunflower stalks, curvy dresses with bustles and spiky punk hairdos. The party to kick off the Vivienne Westwood exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum was a champagne-fueled homage to the mother of punk fashion, who once said “You have a much better life if you wear impressive clothes.”

“She is a British icon and she has surpassed fashion,” said Burberry’s Christopher Bailey, who joined Rose Marie Bravo, Kate Moss, Jefferson Hack, Mary McCartney, Tracey Emin, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Erin O’Connor, Bay Garnett, Karen Elson, Sadie Frost, Manolo Blahnik and Jerry Hall to fete the designer. “Long ago, she formed a very strong opinion about fashion, and she’s had the integrity to stand by it.”

Moss said she’s been collecting Westwood pieces for years. “I’ve loved her since I was 14. I used to make special trips to London to buy her clothes.”

Most agreed Westwood is a designer of many talents. “She puts curves where you haven’t got them,” said Leah Wood, a sentiment echoed by Sam Taylor-Wood: “The best thing about Westwood’s clothes? Breasts and bums.”

Earlier in the day, Westwood, who was sporting two small silver devil horns in her carrot-colored hair, talked about the show — the largest the V&A has ever dedicated to a British designer. It features 150 designs from the museum and from Westwood’s personal archive and traces three decades of her work, from the days of black leather and peekaboo zippers to the punk buckles and snaps, to her watershed Pirate collection with its famous baggy breeches.

“I’ve fallen in love with these pieces all over again,” said Westwood, wearing a dusty rose silk dress decorated with little, sparkly bug pins. “I have a new appreciation for all the skill and technique. This is an oeuvre.”
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