Friday, 17 June 2011

Vivienne Westwood: An Exhibition

"Shoes must have very high heels and platforms to put women's beauty on a pedestal..."
The woman, the designer, the legend.

Last Friday I had the awesome opportunity to visit Bowes Museum in the quaint historic town of Barnard Castle, Teesdale; it houses the famous musical automaton known as the 'The Silver Swan' that was made in the 1773. The museum is a magnificent French style chateau, which has glorious grounds, beautiful architecture, and holds many exhibitions, paintings and art works.
This month, Bowes museum welcomed the worldwide tour of Vivienne Westwood: 'An Exhibition' 1973-2011. County Durham is the only place where this exhibition will be visiting in the whole of the UK, so if you can get to Durham do it now! Its only on for a month: June 10th - July 10th. 
For Vivienne Westwood, shoes are her ultimate fetish design object, and who can blame her! For a woman, shoes are a very important accessory; nothing beats a good shoe, especially designer shoes. Many of us can only dream of affording them let alone try them on, and even though these VW shoes were behind glass, I could still feel the magic they would bestow on the wearer. 

The words opulence and genius sprang to mind as I gazed upon the insanity of these covetable shoes. The sheer imagination and complexity in the design of these shoes, is mind boggling. We all know that Vivienne Westwood is renowned for her dramatic catwalk designs and is the mother of punk, but it was amazing to see her design history materialized in shoes. 

Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take pictures :( so I can't share with you all the beautiful shoes that were on display. However I did do some quick sketches when I was walking around the exhibition which I have turned into illustrations - they aren't amazing but I hope you get a feel of how magnificent her shoes are.  

"Grand Hotel" 
Spring/Summer '93
Super Elevated ankle boot
I fell in love with these tapestry shoes! They were a gorgeous blue and ochre colour, and the material was worn out beautifully giving a nostalgia feel - it reminded me of historic paintings of King Henry VIII, of the Tudor Rose pattern and regal colours.

"Cafe Society"
Autumn/Winter '94
Faded pink Mary Janes

I loved the simplicity of these shoes; they stuck out amongst the madness. The golden brass buckle was what made these shoes instantly recognisable as Vivienne Westwood - it was in the shape of her trademark heart that can be seen on the majority of her jewelry and also in her bag designs.
Spring/Summer '93
Super Elevated Gillie
These shoes were the ones famously worn by Naomi Campbell who fell over whilst wearing them on the catwalk. 

To the men who were at the exhibition, these seemed like torture devices! To me, they were breath taking - I just wanted to break the glass, slip them on my feet and strut with my head held high like I was on the catwalk. However, I'm not a thief, but if VW ever calls, I wouldn't say no!

"Tied to the Mast"
Spring/Summer '98
Candy Stripe Gillie
(Close up of Parasol Aglet)
I want these shoes! I wanted to eat them as they looked like a candy cane pole. Again, like the 'Grand Hotel' shoe, the colours were faded, making them even more beautiful. Although the material was not named, I believe they were made of satin - only the best!

A particular detail that caught my eye was the interesting aglet on the shoe lace (aglet is the little metal or plastic piece at the boot of the shoe lace to make the material not fray or unravel). It was gold which went perfectly with the faded pink and cream satin, but the best part was that they were in the shape of a parasol! So cute, it made my day!

And finally, I present the most stunning shoe with the most demented heel in the world:

"Vive La Cocotte"
Autumn/Winter '95
Vuitton boot 
I didn't even attempt to illustrate this shoe... kind of a non starter, as there was no way I could pull off the trademark Louis Vuitton emblem with my painting skills. Also, I wanted to you all to experience the madness of this unbelievable shoe!

Hope you enjoyed this post, and my funny illustrations.

*Doll note* put VW earrings on this years Christmas list!!!
Doll love xXx

p.s. all illustrations are copyright to me - please ask if you want to feature them

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