Swire Group

Westwood the outspoken star of the show at opening of arts space

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 November, 2008, 12:00am

It's not her designs that Vivienne Westwood hopes fashion fans will remember her by, but the attitude behind them.

'My legacy ... I would like it to be my strong understanding and resistance to the propaganda movement. The antidote is culture,' the 67-year-old said yesterday at the belated Hong Kong launch of an exhibition, 'A Life in Fashion', about her work.

She also complimented Asia on its sense of style.

'[People in Asia] are much better dressed than where I come from,' said the orange-haired Briton, who wore her trademark towering platform heels.

She also revealed that she still harbours some ambitions, saying: 'I enjoy fashion, but I would love to do something in theatre.'

The retrospective - which the government rejected three years ago as being of no interest to Hongkongers - features more than 140 designs and 70 items chosen from her personal archive and the collection of her work at London's Victoria and Albert Museum. The show has been put on by the museum with Swire Properties.

It has been touring the world since 2004 and has already been seen in Shanghai and Taipei.

The exhibition marks the opening of ArtisTree on the third floor of Cornwall House in the Taikoo Place office complex in Quarry Bay, a space dedicated to arts and culture. Its first year will be devoted to the visual arts; performance art may follow.

Swire Properties director and general manager Stephan Spurr hopes it will serve as an alternative to public museum spaces.

'We hope to have very good attendance ... it should be significant and probably more than a public art museum could generate,' said Mr Spurr, who estimates that 100,000 visitors will visit the Westwood exhibition in December alone.

Despite the financial crisis, Mr Spurr said Swire would continue supporting art and culture.

'It's even more important in downturns to have something which stimulates the public and offers some enjoyment,' Mr Spurr said. 'We will have to be more efficient and clever [with our resources] but we will still have a budget and we will still be active.'

The free exhibition will be open from Monday until January 31.

The London museum's director, Mark Jones, did not comment about the show's history. But he did announce that the Victoria and Albert would be staging an exhibition at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin called 'Golden Age of Couture', which would feature Paris and London fashion from 1948 to 1958.

'It follows on very nicely from Vivienne Westwood,' he said. 'We look forward to more exhibitions in future.'




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