Picasso has not yet been honoured with a retrospective on his personal aesthetic, nor has the one-time Comme des Garçons model, Jean-Michel Basquiat. The Brooklyn Museum did though, have one on Georgia O’Keeffe, ‘Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern.’ Women’s work is still viewed through a different lens than men’s; their lives are more closely associated with their art, and their art is oft-seen as inherently more personal than their male counterparts.
Vivienne Westwood’s ability to provoke public discussion – both through her fashion and her media appearances – has characterised her career since the 1970s. In the past ten years Westwood has regularly taken advantage of her status to raise awareness on climate change and to protest against the political institutions that support the overexploitation of natural resources. As such, she is adamant that her clothes should be perceived as public statements and politically-charged products. It is no surprise then, that her autobiography is a further extension of the designer’s activist persona. But while the book explicitly presents her fashion and political engagement as parallel and complementary, it also downplays the contradictions at the roots of her public self.