Harriet Walker

Glossop Girl

Vivienne Westwood

By

Picador 463pp £25 order from our bookshop

A hundred years ago, Vivienne Westwood would have been a traitor; nowadays, we call her a national treasure. The story of the woman who collaged a safety pin through the Queen’s lip – as told by Ian Kelly in a biography comprised as much of her words as of his – is inextricably linked to that of a society fumbling for modernity and freedom of expression, and finding both in the most unexpected places.

One such place is the down-at-heel end of the King’s Road in Chelsea, where Westwood and her partner Malcolm McClaren set up shop in 1971 at number 430. First under the name Let It Rock and then successively as SEX, Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die, Seditionaries and Worlds End, the premises shifted shape in accordance with whatever trend these two pop-culture prophets felt was coming next.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,
    • 'We read from left to right and from start to finish. Or do we?' Stuart Hannabus considers the merits of reading i… ,