Vivienne Westwood: “I have a plan 2 save the world”
Marking her 80th birthday on the iconic Piccadilly Lights, Vivienne Westwood created a short film for CIRCA titled ‘Do Not Buy a Bomb’
During the finale of her AW21 video presentation back in March, Vivienne Westwood stood palms behind the glass of her Mayfair shopfront and delivered a recital of “Without You” from the 1964 classic My Fair Lady. Last night, as she celebrated her milestone 80th birthday, the grand dame of British fashion streamed a rewritten, ten minute rendition of the musical number across the Piccadilly Lights in central London.
Titled Do Not Buy a Bomb, Westwood’s birthday address is a one-off commission forming part of CIRCA 2021, which saw the iconoclastic designer confront the ever looming climate crisis and its connection to the arms trade, imploring viewers to “tell the children the truth”. Following on from her manifesto, diaries, and playing cards, last nights film marked the latest in Westwood’s ongoing attempts to roadmap a radical strategy for political change:
I have a plan 2 save the World. Capitalism is a war economy + war is the biggest polluter, therefore Stop War + change economy 2 fair distribution of wealth at the same time: NO MANS LAND. Let’s be clear, U + I can’t stop war just like that. But we can stop arms production + that would halt climate change cc + financial Crash. Long term this will stop war.
April 8th is my 80th birthday. Please read the Manifesto + Diaries + follow the playing cards 2 find out how life changing the new economy will be. Read over + again 2 realize how simple + radical the plan is, then U will change your pattern of life + by talking U will support me in the fight.
One day soon U will say the right thing 2 the right person at the right time make a difference. Put this in your features + columns, + on social media – as journalists U could become activists. I have always combined fashion with activism: the one helps the other. Maybe fashion can Stop War.
‘Buy Less Choose Well Make it Last’ Don’t buy a car Don’t buy a bomb!
Follow me on climaterevolution.co.uk ‘Get a life!’.
The installation paused Piccadilly’s adverts at 20:21 GMT (a symbolic reset for the year 2021) and is now available to stream in real time here. “We are honoured to provide a platform to this British icon on the Piccadilly Lights and celebrate her 80th Birthday in style,” says the foundation’s artistic director Josef O’Connor, who has also presented works from the likes of Tony Cokes and Ai Weiwei on the capital’s landmark screens throughout the pandemic. On New Year’s Eve, CIRCA’s Patti Smith exhibition was cancelled last minute due to Covid-19 restrictions in London, which saw the punk icon’s residency move from the big screens to online every night for the month of January.
While galleries are to remain shut under lockdown regulations, CIRCA have sought to innovate the industry, bringing art to the masses with these free, immersive experiences. As the designer herself says, “I have always combined fashion with activism: one helps the other. Maybe fashion can Stop War”.
‘Do Not Buy a Bomb’ has been created in support of the Campaign Against the Arms Trade. A special limited-edition print by Vivienne Westwood with the same title is available to purchased on CIRCA until 8 May 2021. Read more about Vivienne’s campaigning activities at the Climate Revolution site.