WESTWOOD: PUNK, ICON, ACTIVIST

★★★

PUNK'S NOT DEAD

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
By Brent Davidson
11th June 2018

I’ll make it no secret - I’ve always wanted a Vivienne Westwood piece of clothing. I think it was from the BBC 'Sherlock’s' Moriarty who, when faced with being shot pointed to his suit and exclaimed, “Westwood?!” So if you ever see me in a Westwood suit, you’ll know I’ve started living my truth and all my dreams are coming true. Until then, I’ll be window (and now screen) shopping.

Vivienne Westwood is a force of fashion who needs no introduction. From her punk beginnings to her high couture runway collections, she is the face and body of radical British fashion and shows no signs of slowing down, regardless of how big her fashion empire has (and is) becoming. This is the story of her life, and it is a fascinating life to witness.

'WESTWOOD: PUNK, ICON, ACTIVIST' TRAILER

The first thing that will strike you about this documentary is the frankness with which Vivienne talks about her life and her experience. “Why do you want to hear that, it’s so boring! Do I have to tell you about the Sex Pistols - do you want that?” Yes Vivienne, we do want to know about your fascinating life!

A true and perfect example of how biographical documentaries should be made (if the subject is still alive), there is a fantastic combination of archival footage, modern interviews and footage of her current life and stresses. I really like to see what these iconic people’s children and loved ones have to say about them, and Westwood’s loved ones really don’t hold back. It only serves to strengthen this documentary's core of frankness, and this is what people want to see.

Westwood’s loved ones really don’t hold back.

We witness the perils of rising to a huge fame and the feeling Westwood now faces with her expanding empire, and the sense that she is losing control as it grows. We also see just how involved she can be and has that meticulous nature of a genius that is, at times, equal parts frustrating and fascinating to watch. From her punk beginnings onward, Westwood has forever been an activist and her activism continues through her work and her shows now. Speaking of green energy in one interview and writing democracy (to highlight the lack of it) into one of her fashion shows, Westwood is entrenched in the "all art is politics" ethos, and her art is iconic. A truly inspirational and fascinating look into a style icon, I just wish I was rich enough to afford one of her pieces!

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