Alcoholic Styles

Drunken TrousersLet’s meet Vivienne’s ‘Drunken Tailor’.  Imagine if you will an old tailor, he has been working late into the night, bottle of gin in hand. In the morning he awakens to find rumpled hems, confused buttons, collars attached to the breast and cuffs at uneven lengths. These are the basis of Vivienne’s Alcoholic styles.

From the very beginnings of her design career Vivienne Westwood has experimented with the laws of traditional tailoring. In her first Worlds End collection ‘Pirates’ 1981, she created the ‘Squiggle shirt’, its unique draped shape created by moving the neck hole from the traditional centre to slightly off side and moving the seams to the back of the garment. Ever since Vivienne has worked with asymmetry and draping in every collection, it became her trademark. She used different sized sleeves one longer than the other, rows of buttons could run diagonal or up the sides, oversized shirts and dresses like the ‘Arabesque Dress’ wrapped the body – avoiding traditional back or side seams. Details of the garments were contorted; collars designed to look as if they could fall off at any minute, the arms pushed through the wrist slit rather than the cuff.  Vivienne wanted everything to look spontaneous, that dressing required no effort.

In the AW04/05 ‘Exhibition’ collection a fundamental design feature was created, the placing of two pieces of cloth at opposing angles on top of each other, creating a draped effect on the outer layer. Moving to focus upon how the fabric worked against the body. The cutting was freer in form, using curves and angles to explore the natural dynamic of the fabric, as done originally in ‘Pirates’. Look carefully and no 00’s Gold Label collection after this is without a hint of the quirky, ‘drunken’ style.  It is used in tailored garments such as the ‘Beelzebub’ jacket and ‘Drunken’ trousers and shirts, in suiting, in denim and even in bags.

‘I’m not interested in tailoring, but in the pull and push of the garment against the body’ Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne has always encouraged us to ‘Do it Yourself’ and the Drunken shirt is something anyone can easily try out for themselves. Simply take a regular shirt and experiment with missing out every other button hole so you create a ruffled up appearance. Try wearing the sleeves with your hand pulled out of the wrist slit rather than the cuff. You can create different looks with either fitted or a loose shirts, using an old belt to cinch the waist will also allow you to play around with pulling the shirt up in some places and letting the tails hang at opposing angles.

(This is a guest post written by our friend Natalie, read her own blog at Top picture shoes Chris wearing the new Worlds End Drunken Trousers, 100% wool, £240.00 available now.)

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15 thoughts on “Alcoholic Styles

  1. Always loved this style, drunken shirts, trousers. But my all time Favourite has to be the pirate tops. Had mine for years…they still look great on.
    I really hope to see new pirate tops… And please bring back animal toe shoes for men, and squiggle shoes .
    Also if anyone can remember Vivienne Westwood man spring/ summer 2008 the last model who walked off with Vivenne at the end of the show…..
    I love this pirate top that has a longer side panel …. That would look fabulous on me …. Lol xx

  2. Pingback: My Guest Post for Vivienne Westwood | Fashion Pearls of Wisdom

  3. Would love to see more posts like this…..I found it really had an interesting twist on the drunken shirts.

  4. My dear friend, an absolutely Fantastic article, incredibly well worded and clearly your Westwood knowledge and passion for her craft shines in every sentence! The drunken style shifts and trousers are by far my most treasured items in my collection. Again, a beautiful post, and look forward to reading more from you! Lots of love x

  5. A really interesting and insightful piece. I particularly like the final paragraph on Do It Yourself – very much a big part of Vivienne’s ethos as you say.

  6. What a fascinating blog post! It’s such a intriguing history and it’s wonderful to learn more about the Westwood heritage and design aesthetic.

    Natalie has such a wonderful style of writing and her love and knowledge of Westwood really shine through.

    Florrie x

  7. A Very Interesting read. Please put together and publish a pictorial history of VW footwear. Although I really like the styling of Vivienne Westwood’s clothing, I’ve always been fascinated by her footwear. The attention paid to the detailing on the footwear is second to none, in my opinion. To think that, once upon a time, the Haute Couture Snobs laughed at VW’s collections (only to steal the very same designs within two years)!