Culture

Vivienne Westwood: Dame Hypocrite's New Clothes

vivienne

Be honest:

Making fun of Al Gore, Michael Moore and Tom Friedman is getting stale.

Those liberal hypocrites are all so… ten years ago.

Luckily, veteran English fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has stepped into the breach, providing us with a brand new clueless, tone-deaf progressive do-gooder millionaire to make fun of.

Westwood first rose to fame in the 1970s, when she and then-husband Malcolm McLaren opened the King’s Road boutique Let It Rock.

Under various names — Sex, Seditionaries — the shop became one of two where British punk germinated, the other being Don Letts’ Acme Attractions.

Westwood created the rude, ripped, rubbery clothing forever associated with the movement, while McLaren tended the musical side, cobbling together a house band to publicize the store. (Hence the name Sex Pistols.)

As the group’s lead singer, Johnny Rotten (ne Lydon) recalled:

Malcolm and Vivienne were really a pair of shysters: they would sell anything to any trend that they could grab onto.

Fast forward to 2014, and imagine, say, Jimmy Swaggart getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That’s how weird it should be that Vivienne Westwood was named a Dame of the British Empire by the queen in 2006.

But no one seems to think it odd at all that “shyster” Westwood remains a powerful cultural force, having switched sides from pseudo-rebel to Establishment figure.

Or, to put it more accurately, for being both things at the same time.

“Greed” is the only official deadly sin the Left still recognizes.

They’ve replaced all the rest with something they call “hypocrisy.”

The trouble is, the highest-profile progressives also tend to be the ones who best personify these two supposed evils.

As Ed Driscoll might put it:

There are two Vivienne Westwoods in one!

At her “Climate Revolution” (!) site, Westwood posts essays with titles like “The End of Capitalism and How It Ruins the World.”

I wish to quickly explain how the world is run. Give you a perspective. If you hold onto this perspective then you can work everything out for yourself, even down to the detail. Know what you should do. Everything is connected. I’ve written everything down because I want to get it right. (…)

Sustainable energy is cheap and infinite. It will be a base for a different economy, a free economy founded on true human values. We will develop the world we want. Don’t forget that capitalism is a war economy: it profits from war. Its aim is to own everything. We would prefer cooperation and community. Capitalists prefer competition and death.

And on and on.

The whole thing isn’t witty enough to be a sly parody of the Chomskyite bien pensant worldview.

It sounds a lot more like a fevered letter to the editor, written in crayon by a lonely old spinster.

The thing is: Vivienne Westwood isn’t entirely wrong.

Political parties are mostly corrupt and useless.

“The Government doesn’t care about you.” (My italics.)

Here’s the real problem:

Uninhabitable Land Throw_1

What you’re looking at, above, is a Vivienne Westwood “Gold Label” original:

Lovingly produced in Scotland, natural lambswool has been woven to create the lustrous Uninhabitable Land Throw, coated with a strong, unforgettable message. Vivienne continues to fight for a Climate Revolution this Autumn/Winter 2014-15, with the layers of red unveiling where in the world would become uninhabitable if the temperature reaches +2%.

Again, I realize that sounds like an outtake from Zoolander, but you really can purchase that thing.

If you’ve got $510 to spare.

Elsewhere, Westwood proclaims that “‘Save the Rainforest’ is the message of the season,” which hasn’t been true since around 1993.

But hey, you can still get her t-shirt with that message for just $235.

If I thought Vivienne Westwood was engaged in a long-term, high-concept Situationist piss-take — that five or ten years from now, she’ll grandly announce that the joke was on us, and that by applauding her we’d revealed ourselves to be shallow fools — I’d be filled with admiration.

The trouble is, as I said before, I think the old bat is deadly earnest.

There’s an “emperor’s new clothes” joke in here somewhere.