AN EXHIBITION of work by British designer Vivienne Westwood Dress Up Story – 1990 Until Now, has opened at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia. The show is curated by André Leon Talley of American Vogue who is a SCAD Trustee and a student mentor there.
Garments on display range from Dame Vivienne’s Spring/Summer ’91 collection Cut, Slash, and Pull up to present-day collections. Dress Up Story features more than 33 garments designed in collaboration with her creative partner and husband Andreas Kronthaler.
As well as clothing, the exhibition features accessories and fashion show footage that showcase Dame Vivienne’s innovative pattern-making, “instinctual use of fabrics and distinctive technique”. The exhibition also investigates her “masterful application of colour and features the unique fabric patterns and materials that capture both fashion culture and British history”.
Well-known as an political activist, Dame Vivienne’s work explores the issues of its time, ranging from her central role in the punk rock revolution in London and contemporary political movements such as the anti-fracking, climate change and Occupy movements. “My clothes are more subversive than they’ve ever been,” says Dame Vivienne. “In a world of conformity, they offer a real choice.”
The exhibition organisers argue that her oeuvre remains a poignant representation of contemporary life, she skillfully deconstructs and arranges symbolic cultural elements into new and surprising creative designs.
Curator of the exhibition André Leon Talley took inspiration from an eccentric British celebration, describing the exhibition as “A post modern romp of a weekend party where the swells meet the activists, where the rogues go vogue, and the vogues go rogue.”
SCAD is based in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, Hong Kong and in Lacoste, France. It’s courses can be accessed online through SCAD eLearning, the diverse student body consists of nearly 12,000 students from across the United States and more than 100 countries.
Selections from the SCAD Museum of Ar’’s Earle W Newton collection of British and American paintings, hung salon style, create a backdrop for the garments. Dame Vivienne said, “Our costumes are romantic and theatrical, inspired by history. We know the characters they belong to. Whoever chooses to wear them re-creates the clothes in her own image making them classics. She inhabits a parallel world – like this one but more ideal. Andreas and I have been designing for 25 years, living and working together. It’s our story. We always dress up.”
“The SCAD Museum of Art continues to deliver innovative and dynamic art experiences that inspire students and visitors of all ages,” said SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace. “SCAD is honoured to celebrate Dame Vivienne’s illustrious work.”
The exhibition offers a insight into the creative process of one of fashion’s most provocative minds, offering a cross-section of Westwood’s history and major fashion accomplishments from the last 25 years.
Daily admission to the exhibition is free for all SCAD students, faculty, staff and museum members. The exhibition is open to the public with the cost of museum admission.
by Caroline Simpson
All images courtesy of SCAD
SCAD Museum of Art,
601 Turner Blvd.
The exhibition runs until September 13, 2015. For ticket information, please go here
A reception for Vivienne Westwood Exhibition: Dress Up Story – 1990 Until Now will be held on July 9, 5:30-7 p.m.