Vivienne Westwood – a lifelong mission to shock

Vivienne Westwood, the pioneering British fashion designer who made a name for herself as the queen of punk in the 1970s, with her androgynous designs and irreverent anti-establishment attitudes has died.

  She brought her eccentric and provocative creations into the mainstream, being worn amongst others by Princess Eugenie for  various elements of the wedding of William and Kate Middleton; and her designs were featured in the movie Sex and the City.

She caused a stir in 1992 when she collected an OBE from the Queen, without wearing underwear, and twirled round in the courtyard to reveal all. And in 2006 when she was made a Dame, she opted again not to wear underpants and went to Buckingham Palace wearing a pair of silver horns.

  She was born 8 April 1941 1am (unverified) Glossop, England into relative poverty and started in fashion creating jewellery which she sold at a market stall as a sideline to teaching. She left an early marriage when she met Malcolm McLaren, band manager of the Sex Pistols, who spear headed the 1970s social-rebel, shock-tactics protest movement in the music business.

  She had a Sun and Venus in pro-active Aries and a flamboyant Leo Moon so was always going to make her mark with a statement. She was one of the Jupiter Saturn in Taurus generation with Uranus close by, so was earthy, stubborn, idealistic (sometimes) and materialistic at others. She had the inspirational Uranus trine Neptune of that era which produced many creative types.

  Although her Uranus was reasonably prominent being also square her Moon and sextile Mercury it is not as highlighted as I might have expected from her status-quo upsetting tendencies. What does stand out is a volcanically angry Mars in Aquarius opposition Pluto which would give her a deep dislike of authority figures and she built a career around taunting them and what they represented.

  Malcolm McLaren tapped into this underground reservoir of compulsive rage with his Aquarius Sun conjunct her Mars and opposition her Pluto; add in his Mars Saturn in Cancer square her Sun Venus and it adds up to a very scratchy relationship – a masochistic twosome. Though their relationship chart did indicate a good deal of affection with a composite Sun Venus as well as a power-couple Jupiter Pluto combination which would help them have a considerable impact. That they lasted a decade together is a miracle but they did shift the culture. For the past thirty years she has been married to another fashion designer, 25 years her junior. He is another Sun Aquarius.

 Her activism in later years focused on climate change and support for Julian Assange.

9 thoughts on “Vivienne Westwood – a lifelong mission to shock

  1. Her six house Uranus square her ninth house. Moon would make her very focussed on being brave in creating her kind beauty/image in an her way. If not obstinate in her approach to shake up the status quo for youth or just to be different. Not to mention her Aquarius Mars opposition to Pluto in Leo, which would make her determined to shock. Mars in the second house Taurus/Venus would also fit in with the younger/ or not the norm relationship with men/ sexual appearance in her life. Interesting to read she left her Business to Jeff Banks and her lover.

  2. Thanks Marjorie. A true English eccentric, and a wonderful creative spirit. Her famous ‘orb’ symbol and design is interesting in view of her Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus in Taurus stellium. The orb is surmounted by a cross, representing power and justice (Jupiter). It is surrounded by “the rings of Saturn”, which Vivienne saw in an astronomy photo. It’s message is said to be about taking tradition (Saturn) into the future (Uranus). You can just see the design in the photo here, but there’s a range of jewellery etc that shows it better I think.

    She was anti fashion in many ways, and keen for people to understand the value of quality over quantity. Most of her work is timeless and quite theatrical. Zandra Rhodes, 19 September 1940, shares that abundant creativity and lifelong eccentricity with Vivienne W. She too has the Taurus stellium of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. There’s an Aries Moon, and Black Moon Lilith in Aries. Zandra was also known as The Princess of Punk.

  3. I thought Aries Sun without even a Taurus Venus or Moon in the mix was rare for fashion designers, and a quick googling did confirm that. But Leo Moon square Taurus Uranus (+Saturn/Jupiter) definitely made sense considering her design esthetic, such a mix of opulent historic reference and iconoclastic elements.

    Personally, as a teenage fashion enthusiast, I remember dreaming of at least a Vivienne Westwoodque wedding dress one day. Ultimately that would have been completely unsuitable at location chosen, but I remember so many of her styles from the 1990’s with awe.

    • Solaia, I agree with you that Aries is not the first sign that comes to mind when speaking of fashion, but but there are quite a few Aries personalities in the fashion business. Sarah Jessica Parker, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, Diane Furstenberg have all Aries Sun, while Anna Wintour has her Moon in Aries.

  4. Must be something regal in the air in the villages near Glossop! Vivienne Westwood born in Tintwhistle and Hilary Mantel born in Hadfield just half a mile away.

    • @Carmel, interesting bit of trivia! I’d say that if the families or parts of them were from the area, they also were 5th cousins twice removed or something similar. I love “Finding Your Roots” also because Henry Louis Gates Jr often goes full on celebrities and finds a genealogy connection.

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