You’ve got to take your hat off to Dame Viv really. She’s 71 years old and still going strong, full of the most creative energy and passion for her fashion empire you have ever seen. The likes of Georgia Jagger and Kate Moss grace her catwalks and there’s always something unexpected to her designs. She’s passionate about eco-loving and quite rightly feels that we can make a huge difference with our attitude towards shopping. That’s why she set up Climate Revolution, which has just turned one year’s old and is a collaboration with high street beauty store Lush. It aims to empower shoppers to fight climate change with the choices they make in their everyday shopping – so really it’s all about shopping with a meaning, which is pretty smart since we all love the high street. Vivienne chose Lush for this collaboration because it’s run like a family business and puts the earth and it’s people at the forefront of its ideas. So naturally, we wanted to get the full scoop from Viv herself on just what she thinks…
Dame Vivienne with Kate Moss and Georgia Jagger
What do you love about Lush?
Vivienne Westwood: Lush is run like a family business that has the earth and its people as their priority. They have over 850 shops across the world without having spent any money on advertising! They pay attention to the amount of packaging they use and care for the communities from which they source their products. They are trying to make the High Street a sustainable place to shop. The most important thing is that they are fighters for the Climate Revolution.
Grazia Daily: What’s your top tip for being eco-friendly?
Vivienne Westwood: Buy less, choose well and make it last. We don’t need the “latest thing” just for the sake of it. We're one of the richest countries in the world. Every time we shop we use our buying power. Considering the environment when spending money is the first influential thing you can do.
Grazia Daily: What is the one beauty product you can’t live without?
Vivienne Westwood: I could manage with one or two coloured pencils. I like to draw around my lips and my eyes.
Grazia Daily: How do you try your best to protect the environment?
Vivienne Westwood: The best way for everyone is to inform oneself. Listen to the scientists. Don't listen to the economists; they are lying when they put the economy and climate change in opposition, they say they are separate problems and then go on talking nonsense about recessions and squeezes and upturns. There will never be an upturn unless we deal with the cause of the problem. The rotten financial system loots the planet and causes climate change. The solution to the financial crisis is: what's good for the planet is good for the economy and what's bad for the planet is bad for the economy. Protect the planet and you’ll protect the economy. So you see how important your opinion is, by everything you say and do, and in changing, you have already joined the Climate Revolution. We could have a wonderful world in a future public opinion - based on economic justice (not rip off).
For my own part I have chosen to support 2 things without which there is no chance to save the planet: Cool Earth environmental charity who will save the equatorial Rainforest and Green Peace who will save the arctic. Both need your public support.
Backstage at her SS13 show
Grazia Daily: Where do the ideas for your catwalk beauty come from? Are they related to nature/environment/climate?
Vivienne Westwood: I am an art lover and a reader. My ideas come from the past, which is where all ideas come from: we are the past and through engagement with painting, sculpture, music and reading we put ourselves in the place, stand in the shoes of others who have lived before us and we see the world through their eyes. We also see the world geographically; we see the beauty of different people in different environments and who belong, like us, to the past.
I use my skills - my most significant skills are in the development of cutting principles - to represent through my imagination the things I discover from the world that exists (and that includes the past). The result is that every garment tells a story. For the wearer the clothes bring theatre and glamour, this means to discover another aspect of their personality, to become more intense, more “who they are".
Of course in the present precarious situation of the life of our Planet Earth and the destruction of our habitat on earth by ourselves is also part of my story; my fashion reflects the world we live in. I use my fashion as a medium to express this, mostly through graphics. I am grateful for the opportunity fashion gives me to open my mouth and talk of these issues.
Grazia Daily: Is there something you first used when you were young that you loved makeup-wise that you wish was till around now?
Vivienne Westwood: No, you just need a few good things, good colours. I always used pencils to enhance. We use make up to enhance our features - large flashing eyes or sultrier and mysterious, more piercing… depending on who we are or how we feel and so on. You can always find ways to do this using make up. The important thing is to look at your own face and experiment. For example be careful with face shading (I never use it ), the only people it can suit are the ones with great bone structure. Do something else. Be bold (rouge!) and even extreme; a friend of mine looked different every time I saw her - once she curled her hair and drew a line from ear to ear dissecting her face. I thought she’d never looked so pretty. Then the next time she had her hair parted in the middle and dark red lips with the cupids bow exaggerated. I love that kind of thing.