Gainsborough’s House plays host to ‘historic’ Vivienne Westwood exhibition
PUBLISHED: 19:40 11 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:13 14 September 2019
Iconic British designer Vivienne Westwood loves to work in silk and is often inspired by designs from the past. A new exhibition in Sudbury puts Westwood’s designs in a suitably historic setting
Sudbury's historic Gainsborough's House, building on last weekend's highly successful silk festival which turned the spotlight on the town's rich history with silk design and manufacture, is staging a new exhibition of silk Vivienne Westwood creations,
Four costumes, inspired by historic designs, have been loaned to the museum and have been artfully displayed at various points around the house, so they can be viewed in an atmospheric setting. The clothes, which have been loaned by the iconic designer, have come from various collections designed over the past 20 years and show how Vivienne has repeatedly taken inspiration from historic dress, particularly that of the eighteenth century.
The ensembles from the designer, who found fame working with Malcolm McLaren and the Sex Pistols in the 1970s, have not used Sudbury silk, but the museum said they represent how silk was used in 17th and 18th Century fashion, an era which inspired Westwood in her post-punk period.
Mark Bills director of Gainsborough's House said: "We are thrilled that Dame Vivienne has agreed to loan us these magnificent costumes. The way that the designs fit seamlessly into the setting of Gainsborough's House support the authentic way that Westwood uses inspiration from historic designs.
"The fact that they sit alongside our historic paintings and echo the authentic feel of the rooms of Thomas Gainsborough's childhood make this a very special exhibition."
Vivienne Westwood first became known in the 1970s for her avant-garde designs that defined punk culture. In the 1980s she started using traditional tailoring techniques and British fabrics and turned to 17th and 18th century art for inspiration. It was also the decade that she met her husband and long-time design partner, Andreas Kronthaler.
Her love of historic, timeless design is echoed by the fact that she lives in a Queen Anne style house, built in 1703, which once belonged to the mother of Captain Cook.
In the early 2000s, Vivienne was appointed Dame of the British Empire and awarded 'Outstanding Achievement in Fashion' at the British Fashion Awards. Vivienne Westwood is one of the last independent global fashion companies in the world. It strives to not only capture the imagination but also to raise awareness of environmental and human rights issues.
Although, the exhibition was commissioned as part of the Sudbury Festival of Silk the exhibition at Gainsborough's House runs until October 27. Normal admission prices apply.