Let’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 www.fashionpearlsofwisdom.co.uk. Top picture shoes Chris wearing the new Worlds End Drunken Trousers, 100% wool, £240.00 available now.)