British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has been pushing boundaries and defying tradition ever since she first emerged onto the London punk scene in the 1970s. While Westwood is best known for her rebellious street style designs, Vivienne Westwood wedding dress have also greatly impacted bridal fashion. Westwood’s wedding gowns are just as revolutionary as her everyday wear, incorporating elements of punk, historical references, and avant-garde silhouettes.
Vivienne Westwood’s Vivienne Westwood Design Philosophy
Much of Westwood’s design inspiration comes from history. She often references past eras in her collections, reinventing historical styles with a modern, edgy twist. Westwood is especially fascinated by the 18th century and Victorian eras, pulling corsetry, draping, and tailored suiting from those periods and updating them.
Above all, Westwood marches to the beat of her own drum. She has no interest in following bridal fashion trends or rules. Vivienne Westwood wedding dresses are all about breaking tradition, embracing imperfection, and designing with artistic expression. She crafts gowns that make a statement, meant to inspire brides who want something truly unique on their wedding day.
Signature Elements of Her Wedding Dresses
While every Westwood wedding dress is one-of-a-kind, certain signature elements appear again and again in her bridal collections and custom-made gowns:
Corsets are a major motif in Westwood’s bridal designs. She often features exposed corset lacing or mismatched panels that reveal the underlying structure of the dress. This reflects her fascination with distorting and reinventing historic corset shapes.
Draping and Letting
Many Westwood wedding gowns feature swathes of luxurious fabric draped and pleated in asymmetric ways. She also incorporates lettuce edge detailing that resembles waving Victorian lace. These techniques add fluidity and motion to her gowns.
With her background in punk fashion, Westwood isn’t afraid to bring in edgy details like safety pins, spikes, rips, and studs. She might splice a traditional wedding gown with bondage gear inspired straps, chains, or tartan patterns.
Westwood explores the extremes of fashion with exaggerated shapes like huge hoop skirts, wildly puffed sleeves, and oversized bows. She sculpts fabric in unexpected ways to create volume and drama.
While known for full skirts, Westwood also designs tailored suits for brides who want a more androgynous look. Her suiting plays with masculine vs feminine elements in creative ways, like a jacket with a corseted waist.
To finish her bridal looks, Westwood crafts one-of-a-kind veils, hats, masks, and crowns for an avant-garde spin on traditional wedding hair accessories. Headwear completes the storytelling of each dress.
Iconic Westwood Wedding Gowns
Westwood has created wedding dresses for clients like Dita Von Teese, Gwen Stefani, and several English royals. But some of her most iconic looks have appeared on runways and red carpets. Here are stories behind a few legendary Westwood bridal designs:
Christina Ricci’s Purple Taffeta Dress
When actress Christina Ricci married in 2013, she wore a Westwood original to her wedding at Harold Pratt Mansion in New York. Ricci’s gown featured a corseted bodice with off-the-shoulder satin neckline, peplum waist, dramatic taffeta skirt, and velvet train. The gown was a regal purple and blue ombre.
Ricci’s dress broke from convention with its avant-garde silhouette, bold color, and luxurious fabric mix. It remained romantic while defying everything about a typical white wedding gown.
Carrie Bradshaw’s Pink Silk Dress in Sex and the City Movie
In the 2008 Sex and the City movie, Carrie Bradshaw shocks everyone by ditching her Vivienne Westwood gown last-minute for a simple label-less white dress. But the voluminous discontinued Westwood gown was so iconic, it got its own cameo laying on Carrie’s bed.
With its corset bodice, asymmetric straps, pink and ivory ombre silk, and black floral embroidery, this dress exemplified Westwood’s one-of-a-kind bridal style. It was originally from Vivienne Westwood’s Spring/Summer 1999 collection. Costume designer Patricia Field had pulled it for Carrie’s fashion forward wedding look.
Naomi Campbell’s Scarlet Corset Dress
For model Naomi Campbell’s 2007 cameo appearance on TV show Ugly Betty, she wore a strapless Vivienne Westwood wedding dress in a vibrant scarlet hue. The gown had a straight neckline corset bodice with a full skirt falling from the empire waist.
Campbell’s dress played into Westwood’s love of corsetry and shown how beautifully Westwood’s silhouettes flatter the female figure. And its bright red color made a bold alternative to white wedding dresses.
Sara Stockbridge’s 1993 Dress
One of Westwood’s most revolutionary bridal designs appeared on model Sara Stockbridge in 1993. The white satin dress had a tight bodice with a large sculptural bow and an extremely full skirt. But underneath, it incorporated trousers with pointed toes peeking out, playing with gender roles and expectations.
At the time, the hybrid dress/pantsuit design was quite shocking and trailblazing. It pushed boundaries about what a wedding outfit could be. Today it remains one of Westwood’s most iconic bridal looks.
Pamela Anderson’s Pink and Cream Gown
For her 2020 wedding to Dan Hayhurst, Pamela Anderson walked down the aisle in a pink and cream Vivienne Westwood corset gown with full princess skirt. The off-the-shoulder strapless silhouette showed off Westwood’s signature corset structures with ribbon lacing details.
The gown color symbolized the “pink bliss” Anderson felt with her new marriage. And she saw Westwood as the only designer appropriate for her unconventional wedding after the public eye had watched her previous marriages.
Princess Eugenie’s 2011 Wedding Gown
When Princess Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank in 2011, she became the first English royal to wear a Vivienne Westwood wedding dress. Eugenie’s gown featured an off-the-shoulder corseted bodice with a full skirt and long train. It cinched her waist while showcasing her back scars proudly.
Westwood called Eugenie a “beauty with brains” and designed the dress to a brief focused on elegance with a modern twist. It honored English royal tradition while bringing Westwood’s avant-garde touch to a historic royal wedding.
Westwood’s Unconventional Bridal Wear
While Westwood has crafted many traditional gowns, she also pushes the boundaries of bridal fashion with unconventional pieces:
Westwood designed a strapless ivory jumpsuit for model Helena Christiansen to wear for her 1989 wedding, replacing the expected gown. The jumpsuit had a corset bodice with a slim leg, veil, and train. Westwood also created tailored white jumpsuits with trains for modern minimalist brides.
Mini Bridal Dresses
Westwood’s Spring 2021 Ready to Wear collection featured punk rock inspired mini Vivienne Westwood wedding dresses. With exposed corsets, thigh high slits, and shortened trains, these dresses broke all the rules about bridal attire. However, they captured Westwood’s spirit of revolution.
Westwood Bespoke Suiting
Many of Westwood’s brides shun dresses entirely for tailored suits with corset waists. Her bespoke suiting offers a gender fluid spin on wedding attire.
Accessories As Attire
At times Westwood crafts outfits from wedding accessories alone, like corsets or crinolines worn over lingerie. Rapper Lil’ Kim wore a Westwood off-white corset mini dress and matching crucifix choker for her wedding ceremony.
By constantly questioning bridal norms through her revolutionary pieces, Westwood expands perspectives about what a wedding celebration can look like.
A Lasting Impact on Bridal Fashion
Vivienne Westwood’s progressive influence has left a lasting mark on wedding style. Many designers continue to reference her corsetry, draping techniques, asymmetry, punk elements, and mini dresses while crafting their own bridal collections today. Westwood has given brides-to-be more options for self-expression and pushed the fashion world to embrace alternative aesthetics.
Westwood herself continues designing couture bridal wear in her 70s, releasing limited edition collections each year. She maintains her ever-evolving, rule-breaking approach.
For over fifty years, Vivienne Westwood has led brides on a path less travelled, inspiring them to view traditions as starting points rather than constricting rules. Her revolutionary wedding dresses remind us that the union of two people need not be conventional. Westwood’s gowns will remain iconic precisely because they defy expectations about bridal fashion. Each dress bears her spirit of fierce individuality.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the key features of a Westwood wedding gown?
Some signature design elements Westwood uses in her bridal wear include corsetry, draping, asymmetry, punk influences like tartan, safety pins or spikes, exaggerated silhouettes, tailored suiting, and unique accessories or headpieces. Her dresses break bridal fashion rules.
What fabrics does she use in her wedding dresses?
Westwood experiments with fabrics like silk, velvet, lace, lamé, brocade, cotton, and of course, her beloved tartans. She often combines luxe fabrics in unusual ways, like pairing satin with cotton, silk with tartan, or lace with chiffon.
How can brides buy a Westwood wedding dress?
Westwood offers limited edition couture bridal collections each year available through her London atelier. Brides can also commission custom gowns. Vintage Westwood gowns can sometimes be found through high-end vintage sellers.
How much do Westwood’s wedding dresses cost?
Prices vary greatly but generally start around $5,000 for more simple designs. Custom-made couture gowns cost into the tens of thousands based on embroidery and fabric intricacy. Vintage pieces also command higher collectible prices.
Who are some celebrities who have worn Westwood bridal designs?
Famous Westwood brides include Dita Von Teese, Gwen Stefani, Pamela Anderson, Princess Eugenie, Naomi Campbell, Sara Stockbridge, and Christina Ricci. She’s also designed wedding outfits for Bianca Jagger, Drew Barrymore, Victoria Beckham and more.
From her punk beginnings to current couture collections, Vivienne Westwood has consistently challenged the status quo of bridal fashion. Her revolutionary use of historical references, gender fluidity, raw aesthetics, and exaggeration have paved the way for a more inclusive view of what Vivienne Westwood wedding dresses can be. Westwood gives a voice to brides looking to boldly declare their uniqueness, offering avant-garde yet romantic wedding gowns that empower wearers to start their new chapters in an unapologetically personal style, making them one of the best options to find a wedding dress without dramas.