Vivienne Westwood: Cut From the Past

“The 18th century is the high point of art and culture”.
Vivienne Westwood´s capsule exhibition presented at Danson House is influenced by the art of the 18th Century.

Vivienne Westwood dress from "Portrait" collection 1990 in the salon of Danson House
Vivienne Westwood dress from 1990 “Portrait” collection in the salon of Danson House

“Vivienne Westwood: Cut from the Past” brings together a selection of designs from the collections that have proven to be a turning point in her career. Outfits on show make particular reference to the Rococo paintings of French artists Watteau and Boucher. Westwood’s passion for 18th century design is also reflected in some earlier pieces from the ‘Cut, Slash and Pull’ and ‘Mini Crini’ collections, etc.

Starting with one of her most iconic punk creations with Malcolm McLaren of “God Save the Queen” shirt from 1977 “Seditionaries” collection.

There is a Buffalo hat from 1982 collection “Nostalgia of Mud”, popularised by Pharrell Williams in 2009.

In her 1990 “Portrait” collection Vivienne Westwood really turned towards the art of the 18th century, using French painter Francois Boucher´s work from London Wallace Collection as direct inspiration – printing one of his paintings on fabric for corsets, scarves, shirts, etc.

Another example of 18th century influences is the Watteau gown from 1996 “Les Femmes” collection.

The time that inspired Vivienne Westwood´s works coincides with the era when Danson House itself was established. Situated on the outskirts of South-East London, this historical Georgian mansion dates back to the 18th Century, originally belonging to a wealthy sugar merchant Sir John Boyd. The house was sold to several owners over time, but the luxurious interior of the building got completely destroyed during its use for civil defense purposes during WWII. In 1995 English Heritage trust started renovating the house interiors that were in dilapidated conditions and within ten years of renovation it got restored to its former glory. Honestly, just looking at the images of the formerly decayed house, makes you really wonder and appreciate the work. The house is currently accessible for public on certain open days.
Danson House is surrounded by a large park that is a nice place to visit for a summery picnic and a day out.

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Vivienne Westwood´s exhibition is open till 31st of October 2015.