Dame Vivienne Westwood’s personal wardrobe is being auctioned off for charity

The personal wardrobe of revolutionary British fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood is being auctioned in aid of the charities she championed during her life.

Punk pioneer Dame Vivienne died in December 2022 at the age of 81 and her label continues to be run under the creative direction of her husband Andreas Kronthaler, who selected the looks to be sold at two auctions. Proceeds from the sale will go to the Vivienne Foundation, Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders, in addition THE BIG PICTURE – Vivienne’s playing cards, a project by The Vivienne Foundation to raise money for Greenpeace.

Auction house Christie’s will host a live auction in London on June 25, with an additional online auction from June 14 to 28, 2024. There will be around 200 lots available covering four decades of fashion. The public will have the chance to view the collection before it goes under the hammer at a free public exhibition, featuring Vivienne Westwood: The Personal Collection, at Christie’s headquarters on King Street, London, from 14 to 24 June.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood Witches AW83/83 (Image: Christie’s)

One of the earliest lots comes from Vivienne Westwood Witches AW83/84 collection, partly inspired by witchcraft and Keith Haring’s graphic code of magical symbols. The collection featured swirling silhouettes, huge peaked shoulders and layered knits. A two-piece ensemble in navy blue serge from the collection, which was presented in Paris to critical acclaim, will be available for purchase.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood Dressed to scaleAW98/99

Also on sale is a taupe silk taffeta corset dress Dressed to scale, AW98/99, in which Westwood played with scale to create a sense of displacement in a technique akin to surrealism. In this collection, elements of a garment were blown up to become the decorative focus and these extremes referenced the fashion documented by the 18th century.e The 19th century satirist James Gillray intended to provoke both thought and debate.

Propaganda, AW05/06, was the designer’s most overtly political show, referencing her punk days and an essay by Aldous Huxley entitled Propaganda in a democratic society – on sale is a dress with a blue and white striped blouse and a printed propaganda modesty panel and apron.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood Propaganda AW05/06 (Image: Christie’s)

Adrian Hume Sayer, Director Private & Iconic Collections, Christie’s, Head of Sale said: “Vivienne Westwood’s sense of activism, art and style is embedded in every piece she creates. The pre-sale exhibition and auctions at Christie’s celebrate her extraordinary vision with a selection of looks that mark key moments not only in her career, but also in her personal life. This will be a unique opportunity for the public to encounter both the public and private world of the great Dame Vivienne Westwood and raise money for the causes she so fervently believed in.

The Vivienne Foundation added: “Vivienne was a style icon throughout her life. Her deep interest in intellectual and political ideas formed the basis for her natural skill in fashion design, where she became one of the few true founders. There will simply never be another Vivienne Westwood.”

On the occasion of the sale, Kronthaler wrote a version as a tribute to his late wife:

A genius born in 1941
Vivienne was a rebel
An outsider with a calling
To explode the system
She was an original thinker
Vivienne was our heroine