Auction  June 26, 2024  Carlota Gamboa

Designer Vivienne Westwood’s Personal Wardrobe Goes To Auction

Wikimedia Commons, Seth Whales

Vivienne Westwood, St David's shopping centre, Cardiff, Wales. License

Westwood World: The Personal Collection kicked off at Christie’s London yesterday evening and brought in roughly half a million pounds during the auction’s opening segment. Broken up into two portions, in person and online, the proceeds of British fashion icon Dame Vivienne Westwood’s personal wardrobe will be donated to charitable organizations Westwood cherished, including The Vivienne Foundation, Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Greenpeace. 

All of the 95 lots offered on the opening night were sold, and according to Christie’s representatives, 42 percent of the registered bidders were a combination of Millennials and Gen Z. The mix of institutional buyers and new clientele can perhaps serve as a reference point for auction houses as they continue to adapt to a changing market. 

Wikimedia Commons, Photo by Mattia Passeri

Vivienne Westwood. License

Christie’s King Street location brought in more than 20,000 visitors while the pieces were on view from June 14th to the 24th, and will hopefully continue to draw in younger clientele to the niche marquee. 

Though most price tags stayed below £10,000, some pieces became significant contributors to the charities. Among them was an eggshell taupe, silk, corset dress worn by Westwood to a Victoria & Albert Museum gala event in 1998. It came from the 1998 "Dressed to Scale" collection and sold for £32,760, despite an estimate of £5,000 to £8,000. 

Another impressive moment came when THE BIG PICTURE – Vivienne’s Playing Cards: Collect the cards. Connect the cards, sold for £37,800. Designed by Westwood in 2017, the deck of playing cards explores themes of social issues, such as climate change, the dangers of capitalism, and human rights. The cards serve as a rallying cry for those wishing not only to align with her aesthetic lineage, but her ideological one as well. 

As stated by The Vivienne Westwood Foundation, "Throughout her lifetime, Vivienne used her voice to lead a relentless fight for justice, continuously highlighting the corruption in the world and trying her best to make [it] a better place. It was Vivienne's ambition, prior to her death, to raise a significant amount of money for Greenpeace to help them protect our rainforests and oceans and save the planet from climate change."

The online auction will close on Friday, June 28th, almost a year and a half after the 81-year-old fashion designer passed away in London. She was known for her extravagant layering, mixing of textures and patterns, sky-high heels, and her influential involvement in the 1970’s London punk scene.

About the Author

Carlota Gamboa

Carlota Gamboa is an art writer based in Los Angeles.

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