Vivienne Westwood costume collecting to sell

A private collection of Vivienne Westwood costumes, featuring designs from her iconic 1995 ‘Vive La Cocotte’ Collection and 1994 Café Society Collection is coming up for auction in North Yorkshire this month.

The current owner of the collection was a punk in her youth and had long loved the infamous 430 Kings Road shop in London, established by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren in 1971 to showcase their ‘clothes without rules’.

Vivienne Westwood Tartan Experience Jacket and Skirt

Twisting and deconstructing traditional tailoring techniques, the pair used their designs as a platform for political statements. The vendor remained fascinated with Westwood’s tailoring and use of fabrics and was afforded the opportunity to purchase statement runway pieces following the devastating IRA bombing of central Manchester.  

On June 15, 1996, the largest bomb detonated on British soil since the Second World War devastated the centre of the city. The IRA planted a lorry bomb on Commercial Street, to cause maximum damage to the city’s infrastructure and economy. Due to the rapid responses of the emergency services, they were able to evacuate 75,000 people from the area following telephone warnings 90 minutes before detonation. Astonishingly, only 200 people were hurt and there were no fatalities.  

Vivien Westwood Jacket and Waistcoat

The Vivienne Westwood shop in Manchester’s Royal Exchange was devastated in the blast, and when it re-opened near Deansgate, Vivienne Westwood sent up from London items off the catwalk and old stock to be sold at a discounted price. As a Manchester resident, the vendor was a regular visitor, and picked up a host of fabulous, high-fashion pieces, some of which have never been worn since.  

Starring in the sale is the Tartan Experience jacket and skirt from Vivienne Westwood’s ‘Vive La Cocotte’ Collection – a vibrant, intricately tailored outfit in Lochcarron wool tartan. This particular collection is legendary amongst fashion enthusiasts, for Westwood’s use of glamour over punk; she took as her influence the high society fashions of the French court in the 17th and 18th centuries, giving historic silhouettes a contemporary twist. From the same collection is a striking and sculptural London Harris tweed jacket, in yellow tattersall check, with a matching waistcoat. Both outfits are offered with estimates of £700-1,000 and are sold with their original sales receipts.   

The sale takes place at Tennants Auctioneers’ Costume, Accessories and Textiles Sale on May 24.