By Erin Moonyeen Haley
It says something about a legend when the funeral is a voguish affair with fashion as much on everyone's mind as the mourning. When saying goodbye to an artistic mastermind like Vivienne Westwood, nothing less than haute couture on parade would do, and that is exactly what her luminous life warranted and received. It was a bittersweet but starry affair, with Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Helena Bonham Carter, Elle Fanning, Stormzy, Georgia Jagger, Christina Hendricks, Gwendoline Christie and many other stars and acolytes paying tribute.
The ninety-minute service was more of a celebration than a somber remembrance, with the band Arnfield Brass opening and closing, and Westwood's husband, Andrea Kronthaler, regaling attendees with stories of himself and Westwood, starting with how their relationship began as an illicit affair in 1988 when he was a fashion student in Vienna and she was the teacher. They went on a date to see the Old Masters, and he recalled how,"She looked a sensation. She wore a chocolate brown stretch-velvet catsuit. A scarf draped around her hip. Her rocking-horse shoes. A leopard fake fur in pink. And her curls, in orange.”
Her son talked about how her fury at injustice had been part of her personality from the beginning, and how the chaos of Vietnam and other government travesties made her feel as though she was shouting into the void. This emotional stranglehold led her to embrace the idea of anarchy, which she channeled into her punk aesthetic.
Guests wore argyle and plaid, bustles and bows. There was fire-engine red hair and spikey mohawks. Fashion was centerstage, of course, with an abundance of individuality to befit the funeral of an iconoclast.
Westwood's legacy is too epic and vast for anyone to summarize in anything smaller than a book. But there are iconic looks, particularly during the mid-90s when supermodels were riding high and social media had yet to dissect fashion culture into nitpicky oblivion. There was the female dandy in exaggerated, sexualized silhouettes and lavender tartan wedding gowns. There were flaming-pink feathered boas and Byzantine-purple platform heels with ballet lace-ups.
Call her eccentric or flamboyant, edgy or ecstatic, Westwood made an indelible stamp on the fashion world, using her own brand of chaos to vivify couture.
Taking a walk down Westwood memory lane is like taking a walk into punky Wonderland.
Kate Moss was a not-so-blushing in 1993 as she wore a voluptuous plaid silk tulle gown in plum and mauve tartan, complete with a veil and wildflowers galore.
In the wake of Westwood's death, Naomi Campbell has reminisced on her epic fall in 1993 while wearing 12-inch heels and a Moulin Rouge-style feathered boa. On her social media, she fondly remembered the daredevil designer and her streak of impetuous ingenuity.
Westwood made the vampiric look sexy long before the bevy of vampire franchises monopolize the screen. Edwardian suits and bowler hats were testimonials to her love of historical dress.
Part of Westwood's panache was her focus on hair and makeup. Amid the thrills of Regency Era dress, faces were powdered and lips painted to pinched tulips typical of courtesans vying for kingly affection.
The Victory Suit of the 1940s was given an excess of canary-yellow feathers, a reminder that Westwood was a genius at taking a staple and giving it a misfit motif.
Westwood could always pull off a surfeit of fabric, for it played into her love of the excess.
Jerry Hall was among the many famous faces who made a cameo on the Westwood runway.
Christy Turlington was pure baroque in a grandiloquent coiffure and dress with its satin that cinched around white petticoats like ridiculously expensive foil.
Naomi made numerous Westwood appearances, this time in a plaid ensemble with Lisa Frank colors and purple, pink and green argyle that screamed Clueless-goes-Country-Clubbing.
~ Images courtesy of Vogue & Naomi Campbell IG