Vivienne Westwood is one of the most provocative brand name fashion designers in the world. Her early work in the 1970s came to define the ripped-and-ready look of punk rock and now, decades later, her fashion forward design dot runways all over the world.
The title a new documentary from Lorna Tucker, “Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist,” promises to showcase three aspects of Westwood’s life but instead mainly presents a portrait of an irascible person, dismissive of her legacy. It’s not exactly the stuff of great documentary.
Tucker presents a comprehensive biographical look at Westwood’s life, from humble beginnings and centre-of-the-punk-rock-storm—“We invented punk,” she says.”—to flat broke and back again to eco warrior. Supported by well chosen archival footage and featuring talking head interviews with Westwood and her inner circle, it’s good looking but never goes for the deep dive. People say things like, “She’s a punk rocker. She’s the only punk rocker,” without much substantiation.
Westwood is a legend, charismatic and an impish presence at age 77, but isn’t well served here.
“I can’t be bothered,” Westwood says in her sit-down interview. “Who wants to listen to all this stuff? If the film is only going to be a certain length I’m sure there is more interesting stuff to put in.” Unfortunately Tucker doesn’t find the really interesting stuff. “Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist” is something Westwood has never been–dull.