It’s only been a few short months since Dame Vivienne Westwood died, and her absence is still keenly felt in the fashion world – but now a new exhibition, Vivienne Westwood Corsets: 1987 to Present Day, is set to debut in the capital, bringing some of her most iconic fashion pieces to life. Centring around the corset, the show will explore the house’s rich tradition of subverting corsetry, examining the legendary British designer’s trailblazing approach to using underwear as outerwear.
The specially curated Vivienne Westwood Corsets exhibition will make its debut as part of London Craft Week, running from 8 – 21 May 2023 at the fashion house’s flagship store on Conduit Street in Mayfair. It’s a fitting tribute to the late designer, who counted the corset as one of the signature pieces in her repertoire. Westwood first showed these waist-nipping, boned pieces as part of her Harris Tweed Autumn-Winter 1987/88 collection, but it wasn’t until three years later, with the unveiling of her much-lauded 1990 Portrait collection, that they went on to become central to the irreverent brand’s DNA.
At the exhibition, fashion buffs will be able to learn about the fascinating links between the corset and historical dress, culture and fine art, all of which continue to serve as a constant source of inspiration for the Vivienne Westwood collections today. Visitors to the show can expect to find important runway pieces dating from the first corset collection on display, as well as some of the more recent iterations by the brand’s creative director Andreas Kronthaler, Westwood’s former husband. The corsets in the current collection now come in an array of designs, from ones adorned with skulls and crossbones and swear words to shimmering metallic versions.
To mark the exhibition, the house has also created a limited-edition jewellery collection. The main focal point of this capsule line is a 3D charm of the original Westwood Portrait corset. Though the corset first debuted as part of her Harris Tweed collection, it was actually the metallic gold iteration that appeared in her Time Machine collection the following year that inspired this special pendant. The gold-plated charm can be found on a necklace and bracelet, as well as on matching clip earrings, with the collection available exclusively in Vivienne Westwood flagship stores and online.
Vivienne Westwood Corsets: 1987 to Present Day will be running from 8 – 21 May 2023 at the Vivienne Westwood Boutique, 44 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London W1S 2YL