Northampton Vivienne Westwood exhibition offers 'something for everybody'

A display of Vivienne Westwood clothing spanning 40 years offers "something for everybody", according to its curator.

The "vast" private collection features items from the designer's early days with Malcolm McLaren and punk, right up to recent times.

It was amassed by Lee Price, who worked for the designer for 18 years.

Senior shoe curator Rebecca Shawcross said it was "exciting" to host the collection at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery.

"I think there will be something for everybody, really, so whether you like Vivienne Westwood or you don't like Vivienne Westwood, you'll find something in the exhibition where you'll think, 'Wow that's great, I'd love to have that and wear it'," she said.

Westwood, who died in 2022 aged 81, made her name with her controversial punk and new wave styles in the 1970s and went on to dress some of the biggest stars in fashion.

Mr Price, who grew up in the Kettering area, wore a lot of the men's pieces for work.

"In the mid-90s, standing at Kettering train station in a tartan bondage suit gives you confidence," he said.

"Being a quiet, shy kid at school, I found Westwood's clothes gave me the confidence - when you put it on you came into your comfort zone."

Ms Shawcross said of Mr Price: "He is not only passionate about Vivienne Westwood, but also about the shoemaking history in Northampton and the county."

The industry's history in the county dates to the mid-19th Century, and Mr Price's parents and grandparents had shoe shops.

Initially, the curator hoped to display just his Westwood shoe collection, but the final exhibition, which runs until 9 June, offers a far greater range of items.

"His collection is vast, spans from Vivienne Westwood's early days with Malcolm McLaren and punk right up to almost the present day, so we even have a tea set with her design on it."

She said the exhibition had been largely well-received so far.

"Occasionally, there might be someone who just thinks, 'What ridiculous clothing', but actually most people coming, it's something that they really want to see and they just really love Vivienne Westwood and what she stood for and how she made the clothes," she said.

Follow East of England news on Facebook, Instagram and X. Got a story? Email or WhatsApp 0800 169 1830