'Propaganda', 'Dressed to Scale' and 'Witches' collections dresses

Dresses (L-R) from Westwood's 'Propaganda', 'Dressed to Scale' and 'Witches' collections on offer at Christie's.

Image: Christie's images Ltd.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The sale will be offered in two parts across a live auction (Part I) on June 25, with an online sale (Part II) running alongside it from June 14–28. 

The auctions will offer a chance to own an outfit from the personal wardrobe of the late fashion designer. The selection includes pieces she created, tailored and was photographed wearing during the last four decades of her life.

The 200 lots of accessories, jewellery and outfits span four decades and 42 collections. They have been selected for auction by her third husband and creative director of the brand, Andreas Kronthaler, to whom she was married for 29 years.

The live auction will also feature the playing cards that Westwood initially designed in 2017. THE BIG PICTURE – Vivienne’s Playing Cards: Collect the cards. Connect the cards has an estimate at £30,000-50,000.

Just before her death, she chose her favourite 10 graphics from the series. She then signed the ‘cards’ with the intention of having the designs enlarged and printed posthumously. Originally created in a digital format, they echo the iconic cut and paste aesthetic of Westwood’s ‘70s punk T-shirts and Jamie Reid’s album artwork for the Sex Pistols.

Cora Corré, model, activist and Westwood's granddaughter said: “The 10 prints alongside the other playing cards are the essence of Vivienne’s politics, philosophy, designs and creativity and I think in her own words they were the best thing she’d ever done.”

The earliest item included in the sale comes from the Witches collection for autumn/winter 1983/84. Also claiming a place in fashion history is a corset gown of taupe silk taffeta from her 'Dressed to scale' collection, autumn/winter 1998/99.

She wore the dress to attend the Vivienne Westwood Fashion Tribute at The Victoria & Albert Museum in 1998. Like many of her infamous designs, it boasts 18th-century vibes, with a broad, low neckline, cinched bodice waist and outsize skirts. The estimate is £5000-8000.

“Vivienne Westwood’s sense of activism, art, and style is embedded in each and every piece that she created,” said Adrian Hume Sayer, Christie’s director of private and iconic collections. “The pre-sale exhibition and auctions at Christie’s will celebrate her extraordinary vision with a selection of looks that mark significant moments not only in her career, but also in her personal life.”

In conjunction with the sale, on Thursday June 20, Christie's is hosting an evening celebrating the designer’s legacy as part of their Christie’s Late series. Going under the banner Radical Thinking: a Celebration of Vivienne Westwood, it will feature an exhibition of her wardrobe, panel discussions, performances and workshops. 

Taupe corset gown by Vivienne Westwood

Corset gown of taupe silk taffeta from Westwood's 'Dressed to scale' collection. Autumn/winter 1998/99 (lot 30), estimated £5000–8000 at Christie's. 

Image: Christie's images Ltd 2024 

'Maestro of publicity'

There are few women in fashion, aside from Coco Chanel, who not only embodied their brand, but pioneered a significant cultural shift. From her role at the core of the ‘70s punk movement with her SEX shop on the King’s Rd, to going commando at Buckingham Palace to meet Queen Elizabeth II, Westwood was a provocative maestro of publicity.

Her relationship with the British monarchy continued for many years. She was made a Dame in 2006, for services to British Fashion, designed clothes for Princess Eugenie and won the award for British Designer of the Year on another two occasions.

This sale has already generated global media interest. With an obsessive fan base, it might be one to watch for both catwalk queens and serious collectors.

While alive, Westwood often said: “Buy less, buy better.” She often added, “and buy it from me.” It’s a testament to her business savvy and maverick humour that two years after her death, that’s exactly what’s on the cards.

Vivienne Westwood: The Personal Collection is at Christies June 14-28.  

The event will raise funds for the causes and charities which Westwood (1941-2022) supported during her life. Proceeds will support The Vivienne Foundation, Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières and Greenpeace.