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5.0 out of 5 stars Paris, London, and beyond!
This gives Jon Savage's 'England's Dreaming' a run for its money but with more material for essays and dissertations. Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren - the Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beavoir of the 70s and 80s, with more followers through Fashion and Music. Don't you just love post-Modernism?
Published 5 months ago by MS JAYNE SHERIDAN

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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting nuggets in a sea of resentment
The author of this book is a journalist and is/was employed by Vogue as a fashion historian. She also has known Vivienne Westwood personally for a long time.
The book traces Vivienne Westwood's history, mostly based on interviews (some conducted by the author, some previously published). Large parts of the book consist of anecdotes or stories, many of them showing...
Published on 3 Mar 2001


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting nuggets in a sea of resentment, 3 Mar 2001
By A Customer
The author of this book is a journalist and is/was employed by Vogue as a fashion historian. She also has known Vivienne Westwood personally for a long time.
The book traces Vivienne Westwood's history, mostly based on interviews (some conducted by the author, some previously published). Large parts of the book consist of anecdotes or stories, many of them showing Westwood in a negative light. Mulvagh presents Westwood as a person who is dependent on, and acts on the ideas of, male mentors, namely Malcolm McLaren, Gary Ness (Westwood's intellectual mentor and "guru"), and Andreas Kronthaler, Westwood's current husband. In some cases Mulvagh claims that Westwood uttered what Mulvagh contemptuously calls "Gary-speak" - that is, a semi-digested repetition of Ness' ideas.
Westwood is presented as a rather humorless person who constantly lectures others and on occasion shamelessly steals ideas from other designers. The latter may be true, but there is a very fuzzy border between inspiration and copying, and even artists such as Michelangelo "copied" or was inspired by other artists' ideas. Also, artists working together on the same project is a common thing, both in the past and the present, and there is nothing wrong with this.
The tone of the book is often condescending (reflecting the attitude of the university graduate towards the degreeless autodidact?). The creative aspect is neglected over large parts of the book; a more detailed discussion of the sources and the type of research done by Westwood would have been of interest for anybody who has a serious interest in fashion or design. The crucial factor of her work - historical research into the cut of extant period garments and then using the results of her research in her collections - is mentioned but largely overshadowed by nasty little anecdotes about Westwood's behaviour and statements about her character and her way of thinking. In the picture sections, it would have been helpful if a historical garment was presented alongside a Westwood garment inspired by it and also a similar-looking piece by another designer that, unlike the Westwood item, has a modern cut. Mulvagh mentions this briefly in the text, but to see pictures of such garments would have made it clearer.
Westwood withdraw her initial support for this book from Mulvagh during the writing, and after reading the book, I understand why, and wonder whether this may have influenced the feelings of the author towards her subject and consequently the content and tone of the book. I assume that it may be tempting to betray confidences made in the context of a personal relationship when one writes a book about the person in question, and that as a journalist, one may lose the feeling for what is private or may ignore it when revealing the information is financially rewarding, but it makes me feel uneasy to read this. It is a pity because, with a slightly different attitude on the part of the author, this might really have become a very good book. It gives a lot of background information but it also makes me feel sorry for Vivienne Westwood because she must have felt betrayed by Mulvagh when this book came out.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Anything is better than nothing., 3 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This is by no means an excellent book, but it was readable. The problem is that there are so few books on Westwood, that anything (regardless of quality) is worth reading. It was certainly a lot better than Fred Vermorel's book on Westwood.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars very disappointing, 18 July 2012
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This review is from: Vivienne Westwood: An Unfashionable Life (Paperback)
The author is at least honest enough to admit that she fell out with VW in the Preface... and it shows! It's so sour it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth! Practically every disparaging adjective in the dictionary is used to describe Vivienne so this book certainly won't appeal to her fans!

You can see why VW didn't want to work with this author. And it should have been heavily edited. Far too long and far too much repetition. Typos too eg Murray Blewitt is also spelt as Bluitt!

Not worth the investment in time or money!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A cut and paste journalism job - Westwood deserves better., 22 May 2001
By A Customer
This book is the ultimate journalistic betrayal -a cut and paste job which could have been done by anyone with basic writing skills. Vivienne Westwood is a visionary who deserves better. There is no analysis in this book of Westwood's genius for creating incredible fashion ideas, instead it is filled with sensationalism and second hand information - no wonder the Daily Mail bought the serialisation rights. The first reviewer from Germany sums up my sentiments perfectly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Paris, London, and beyond!, 13 April 2014
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This review is from: Vivienne Westwood: An Unfashionable Life (Paperback)
This gives Jon Savage's 'England's Dreaming' a run for its money but with more material for essays and dissertations. Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren - the Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beavoir of the 70s and 80s, with more followers through Fashion and Music. Don't you just love post-Modernism?
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the book takes on a different edge, like vivienne westwood, 1 Sep 1999
By A Customer
For the young and old alike if you need inspiration,from the fashion world who is better read about !
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Vivienne Westwood: An Unfashionable Life
Vivienne Westwood: An Unfashionable Life by Jane Mulvagh (Paperback - 22 July 2011)
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