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Vivienne Westwood

The Collection of Romilly McAlpine

Liverpool Museum

25 May - 30 September 2001

Romilly McAlpine's unique collection of clothing by Vivienne Westwood celebrates the designer's standing in post-war British fashion.

Thirty years after the opening of Let it Rock, Westwood's first King's Road shop, this show illustrates her progression from punk enfant terrible to living national treasure.

Romilly McAlpine began buying Westwood clothing in 1986 when, as wife of Lord McAlpine, former Treasurer of the Conservative Party, she became one of her most significant patrons.

Lady McAlpine chose to wear Westwood at public events, notably the 1994 state opening of Parliament where she appeared in the Midnight Experience Skirt, shown here.

The exhibition will feature clothing from 1986-1996 and consider the relationship between the couturier and the client, examining the way Romilly McAlpine has made Westwood's clothes work for her.
Lady McAlpine explains:

"I was leading such a conventional life in some ways as a politician's wife, and participating so much in what was then the current establishment, it was fun to have something irreverent, but classical."

"The clothes always made me feel as if I stood out from the crowd. Within those circles, Vivienne was considered outrageous and avant-garde. My view is that she was always ahead of her time. And I wanted to support a British designer. So you got the whole mix with Vivienne. It was perfect for me."

Midnight Experience Skirt
Midnight Experience Skirt


Diamond Encrusted Codpiece
Diamond Encrusted Codpiece Corset

The exhibition includes some of Westwood's most important designs: the Diamond Encrusted Codpiece Corset; the dramatic Midnight Experience Skirt; the Portrait Jacket and the classic Rocking Horse Boots.

In the year in which she celebrates her 60th birthday, Westwood will be creating no fewer than four new collections, opening shops in New York and Milan and launching a cosmetics line.

Vivienne Westwood: The Collection of Romilly McAlpine is a Museum of London touring exhibition.

View the current collection at Vivienne Westwood's Manchester store: [opens new window]

Contact the Press Office for further information

Images © Museum of London