Fashion Icon Vivienne Westwood’s Personal Wardrobe Heads to Auction

The auction includes art-filled playing cards signed by Westwood, which will be sold to benefit Greenpeace.

Vivienne Westwood at her retrospective at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, 2005. Photo: Derek Hudson/Getty Images.

This June, Christie’s London will be presenting a live and online auction of more than 200 lots from the personal wardrobe of U.K. fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.

Westwood was born in Cheshire in 1941, and made her mark on the fashion world as a key figure in punk design. With designer and impresario Malcolm McLaren, who she wed in 1967, Westwood ran a fashion boutique on Kings Road in London, which ran under several names from Let it Rock to Seditionaries (it continues to operate today as Worlds End). Most prominently, members of the Sex Pistols, the punk band which McLaren formed and managed from 1975, wore several of Westwood’s edgy designs both on and off-stage.

In the 1980s, Westwood continued to delve into sub-cultures—from pirates to witches—in collections that melded traditional forms with cutting-edge techniques. For her efforts, she was awarded an OBE in 1992 and a DBE in 2006. By the time of her death in 2022, Dame Westwood was one of Britain’s best-known designers, celebrated for her provocative and iconoclastic looks.

Two-piece navy outfit by Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood, “Witches” Collection (Autumn/Winter 1983). © Christie’s Images Ltd, 2024.

The 200 lots of accessories, jewelry, and outfits from Westwood’s wardrobe have been selected for auction by Westwood’s third husband and the creative director of her brand, Andreas Kronthaler, to whom she was married for 29 years.

The outfits in the auction span four decades, the earliest look dating from Autumn/Winter 1983–84, just two years after Westwood’s first catwalk show. The two-piece ensemble comes from Westwood’s “Witches” collection, inspired by witchcraft and the graphic designs of Keith Haring, who collaborated with Westwood and McLaren on the iconic collection.

Pale corset dress by Vivienne Westwood.

Vivienne Westwood, “Dressed to Scale” Collection (Autumn/Winter 1989). © Richard Young / Shutterstock.

Other highlights coming to auction include a corset dress from Westwood’s Autumn/Winter 1998/99 “Dressed to Scale” collection, and an outfit from the Autumn/Winter 2005/06 “Propaganda” collection, deemed one of the designer’s most overtly political periods.

“Vivienne Westwood’s sense of activism, art, and style is embedded in each and every piece that she created,” said Adrian Hume Sayer, Christie’s director of private and iconic collections, in a statement. “The pre-sale exhibition and auctions at Christie’s will celebrate her extraordinary vision with a selection of looks that mark significant moments not only in her career, but also in her personal life.”

A playing card showing a woman with a spiky haircut and wearing distressed shirt. The words "ME PUNK" are scrawled over the image.

A card from The Big Picture – Vivienne’s Playing Cards, by the Vivienne Foundation for Greenpeace (2024). Photo: © Christie’s Images Ltd, 2024.

Profits raised from the sale will go to several charitable causes including the international human rights organization Amnesty International and the Vivienne Foundation, founded by Westwood in 2019 to confront climate change and protest capitalism.

Also featured at the auction is the Foundation’s project, titled The Big Picture – Vivienne’s Playing Cards, intended to honor Westwood’s legacy as an activist and benefit Greenpeace. Towards the end of her life, Westwood signed 100 sheets of etching paper, in the hopes that 10 artworks carrying her activist messages would be printed onto these cards. Christie’s London is offering these limited-edition playing cards for sale in 10 deluxe portfolios. The first will be available on June 25, with an estimate of £30,000–£50,000 ($37,000–$62,000).

“For Vivienne, activism was her life. She didn’t compartmentalize it. Fashion here, campaigning there. In fact, she always said everything is connected. Fashion. Art. Education. Activism. And she managed to fuse it all together in extraordinary ways. Vivienne has left us the playing cards, an important work of art, that enables her ideas to live on in all of us,” said John Sauven, the former executive director of Greenpeace U.K.

Dress with blouse and modesty panel by Vivienne Westwood.

Vivienne Westwood, “Propoganda” Collection (Autumn/Winter 2005–06). © Victor Virgile / Getty Images.

The auction will be split into two parts, a live sale on June 25 and an online auction from June 14 through 28. Pieces from Westwood’s wardrobe will also go on display as part of a free exhibition, “Vivienne Westwood: The Personal Collection,” held at Christie’s Kings Street headquarters from June 14 through 24.

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