When I first saw you on BBC’s The Clothes Show in the late 1980s, I’d have been eight or nine. You bowled me over with your creations. Your obsession with the human body was palpable and I was hooked. Blame the provocative 18th-century cleavages, the wildly gathered and darted tartans, I loved it all. Yours was always one catwalk show where the models actually looked like they wanted to be there. They were actually having FUN.
Fun is one of the things that was so iconic about you and your work, despite the serious topics of your campaigning, you never lost your sense of fun. It poured from you every day. Mischief. Naughtiness. Joy.
When I was lucky enough to wear something by Vivienne Westwood I hoped that a little of the fun and sexiness would be held by that piece. You were our alternative queen. I always felt a bit royal, a bit special when I wore something you’d created. I held myself differently as if to do justice to your work.
Another element of my fascination with you was that you were from the North of England, and you had an accent to prove it. When I heard you giving an interview (probably on The Clothes Show again) I couldn’t believe it. I felt this glamorous, fun woman was like me. Representation matters.
Of course, I ended up in London for a time, a decision that I’ve no doubt your trailblazing played a part in. I met a rag-tag bunch of arty people also from the North, who also thought you were amazing. We made pilgrimages to your shops and saved and sold things in order to buy a little piece of you.
During those years, I even had my hair the same. The almost Marylin Monroe short blonde curls, the punk peroxide straw version, and the buzz cut crop. The fact you celebrated curves, and I had plenty: I knew you were for me. You did the opposite of the androgeny which was so huge in the 90s.
I saw you once, on your bicycle, riding through Battersea Park. You were head to toe in your own designs or a least in your unmistakable style. You must have been in your sixties but your rode by me with the confidence of youth. We said Good Morning to each other, and part of me knew I didn’t need to be in London anymore. I’d done what I really came for.
I hope I age as you did, nonconformist, yet still full of grace and never ever losing my sense of FUN.