When Vivienne Westwood met the Queen’s dressmaker

Vivienne Westwood  (Getty Images)
Vivienne Westwood (Getty Images)

She was a punk icon, he was the Queen’s dressmaker. But the late Dame Vivienne Westwood and Sir Hardy Amies fashioned an unlikely bond.

Westwood’s biographer Jane Mulvagh tells us she introduced the pair over a dinner of parrotfish and gypsophila at her Chelsea flat back in the Eighties.

“It was a hilarious evening,” Mulvagh recalls. “He kept saying: ‘Well dear, the trouble is, your clothes are so bloody badly cut. We’re going to have to do something about it!’”

Eccentric Dame Viv wasn’t too bothered by the Royal Warrant holder’s criticism. She was busy rubbing her aching legs after a day spent tottering around town in high heels.

Vivienne Westwood getting her damehood at Buckingham Palace in 2006 (AP)
Vivienne Westwood getting her damehood at Buckingham Palace in 2006 (AP)

“She was wearing her nine-inch platform shoes. Her knees were crouched under her chin and she was getting cramp,” says Mulvagh. Still, a friendship was forged. “They got on really well actually. They were lovely together.”

Dame Vivienne Westwood was born in Glossop, Derbyshire then moved to London. There she met her boyfriend and creative partner Malcom McLaren. Together they ran SEX, a famed boutique on the King’s Road in Chelsea.

She designed multiple collections featured in magazines and on catwalks all over the world. She is credited with bringing punk and the new wave into the mainstream.