Back from Paris where we presented our Gold Label show called “Everything is Connected.” This was the culmination of our fashion season and now we’re already late with next season’s Gold – our most important collection. Why are we late? Because Gold depends so completely on Andreas and me. Of course we have people to help us, we delegate. But we initiate. Our team has work to do for the production of the last collection, meanwhile we choose the fabric – samples from the factories are waiting in boxes – but we don’t, we are too taken up with all the daily business of running a company and its public face – interviews etc. Our people and design teams want Andreas’ input, opinion, approval.

He did work with Iris for a week on new toiles. And he has an inspiration for new Gold – his all-time favourite designer, Frederick Worth. Every dress he ever made is different, one from the other. He went to study him in the new V&A archive in Olympia where they keep all their historical costumes, fabrics and images. He was extremely impressed by the building and archive – the way it’s been done. He said he had had the happiest day of his life from what they had shown him, from what he had seen (nobody sees like Andreas)

Re. Gold I have managed to choose the knitwear yarn and ask for tests – samples of stitches and differences in handle for the designs I have worked out.

I have been working on Red Label. I love this collection and I had some strong ideas. I want it to be really archetypal Westwood, I want to epitomise it more and more.

The two main things I’ve been working on are editing, selecting and writing material for the Climate Revolution site which is up on 10th of November and choosing the Gold fabric, which can take hours and days because you’re having to think what to do with it so that you’re getting a feeling for the collection.

I have prepared the most important piece of information you will ever read for the new site; it is “Who are our Rulers?” Whistleblower Karen Hudes from the World Bank (now sacked) has revealed that they are the Central Banks who create money in order to create debt and suck up everything for themselves. They control the global financial system and politicians serve their interest.  The driving power of the CR website has to be political therefore this is the way to engage people – when they understand the injustice which is anti-people, anti-planet – which is driving CC.

Frank Hewetson

Frank Hewetson

Saturday, 5 Oct:   Andreas and I went to the Greenpeace demonstration outside the Russian Embassy in Notting Hill to free the Arctic 30. It was really great, lots of people on both sides of the Bayswater Rd. and all the traffic hooting and people on the buses waving. Do go on demonstrations – the more people turn up the more fun you have, the more friends you meet and who you can go to the pub with, after. We know Frank Hewetson one of the 30. We talk to Nina, his wife and their daughter Nell who is there with her friend Cora, my granddaughter.
Frank has been with Greenpeace for over 20 years, always at the front of the action. Once when protesting against bad practice in tuna fishing in the Mediterranean a fisherman harpooned him through the calf and by the connecting line held by the man who shot him, he and his boat were being dragged at speed by the fishermen’s boat, each time Frank tried to pull on the line to get some slack, the man pulled it tight. Eventually, Frank managed to rip the barbed weapon out of his calf. Frank did a lot of diplomatic work for Greenpeace e.g. persuading companies to buy soya from growers with well-managed soil instead of those who cut down the forest and move the crop in there.

Greenpeace are fund-raising for lawyers to work on the release of the Arctic 30-who come from 18 different countries, so 18 lawyers.

The Greenpeace activists must have been terrified when those helicopters came over the boat let down those special forces on ropes, with their heavy guns and balaclavas over their faces coming on deck to arrest them. They were focusing world attention on a drilling operation which will endanger the lives of all people and Putin’s response was full military aggression. Now he’s hiding behind the “law” (ha!) saying he can’t interfere. No doubt Greenpeace will build up pressure on Shell, the equal partner in Russia’s lethal Arctic operation.

Shell Hell

Monday, 7 Oct:  I was invited with 4 hours’ notice to Channel 4 news to speak on behalf of the 30. So great is my respect for the importance of Greenpeace and for the danger posed by exploitation of the Arctic of tipping over into runaway climate change that I think I used the opportunity well.

After this I went onto to Daphne’s restaurant in Fulham where my friend Linda Watson, was expecting me. It was the launch of a book of Vogue photos of our fashion since the 70’s.  Linda wrote the text.

Thursday, 10 Oct:  Andreas and I met my son Joe at the London museum for the opening of “The Cheapside Hoard”; the stock of a seller of jewellery from Elizabethan times which has been buried, was discovered by complete and lucky accident during a “normal” digging operation (Anyone who travels appreciates the distinctive difference between London and any other town: roadwork’s – the streets are constantly dug up). Elizabethan jewellery hardly survives except for this stash. The exhibition gave you a feeling of the importance of a London that was thriving and commercial.
We walked over to Clerkenwell Green. Joe who lives in this part of London – took us for something to eat. As we walked he told us some of the history. Lying just outside the city walls. Clerkenwell became the natural home for those wishing to live outside the law.

The Cheapside Hoard and Jack Sheppard

left: “The Cheapside Hoard” right: Jack Sheppard and Bess Lyon’s escape from Newgate prison, Clerkenwell. Notorious burglar escaped from prison 4 times before being hanged at Tyburn aged 22, a third of London’s population came to his execution. Joe’s latest fashion collection is called Jack Sheppard

When Charles Dickens wrote Oliver Twist and cast Clerkenwell Green as the training ground for Fagin’s crew of pick-pocketers, the area was commonly known in the press as ‘the headquarters of republicanism, revolution and ultra-non-conformity’.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin drank beer and discussed revolution in the Crown and Anchor pub (now the Crown Tavern on Clerkenwell Green). From revolting peasants to revolutionary Communists, Clerkenwell has a long history of political radicalism and religious non-conformity.
Perhaps the most significant demonstration occurred in 1890, when the green was the gathering point for London’s first May Day March – a left-wing tradition that continues into the 21st century. Clerkenwell Green hosted frequent political meetings, rallies and demonstrations.In the 1930’s depression the Jarrow march to London came to Clerkenwell Green.

Everywhere was packed even though it was Thursday and we ended up sitting outside on a cold night with a glass of wine and a packet of chips.

Saturday, 12 Oct:  To Keats’s House in Hampstead and the latest project of Brenda Ramsey’s YouYou mentoring. Climate Revolution collaborated with Brenda’s project to help young poets. Brenda is passionately dedicated and she must have managed to get sponsorship and free mentoring at every stage of her project, which now culminated in the poets reading their work to an audience

I’m sure she was disappointed in me. For though I encouraged the poets to continue I did not praise them just because they’re young. The poems where good but not yet good enough. I thought they had been too easily satisfied with themselves, even self-indulgent and therefore not quite honest and we attempted a public discussion  which I hoped was better for them than a patronizing praise: if the poem didn’t touch the poet, how could it touch us?

One of the poets, Laura O’Driscoll was very good. I did not make an exception of her at the reading. I think the poem could be made clearer and stronger. What I like about her is her courage, she wants to be the voice of the world. The poems were about Climate Change. Laura’s poem “The Last Sunset”

Wednesday, 16 October:  Andreas is in Italy until Tuesday 22nd – menswear.
At Joe’s office. He and Cynthia had put together a meeting of anti-fracking NGO’s and friends. Jane Thomas from “Friends of the Earth” who had fought the frackers in Blackpool was really impressive – said only what was important, understood everything it was possible to do. Cynthia pointed out to me that she and Jamie from “Reclaim the Power” were from “Occupy”, every time they had a good idea they did a little two hands wave in the air. Climate Revolution believes one of its tasks is to connect the NGO’s. Cynthia will tell you our anti fracking plans.

In the evening  I went to a reception to mark a CNBC film on the philanthropic projects of Jochen Zeitz (he spent his career building up Puma) one of which is Segera in Kenya which Andreas and I visited and for which we are now ambassadors. I am also ambassador for the school, it didn’t even have a door, it was made of broken planks, they had nothing and I sent them some books. I was amazed to see what the Zeitz foundation has done to improve the school and the health of the children. The school just won greenest school on Earth award.

Sunday, 20 Oct:  I meet my friend, Shami Chakrabarti and her 11 year old son, Christian who is artistic. We plan to go to the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition:” Elizabeth and her People”, Christian is studying the Elizabethans at school, but first we got to lunch in the National Gallery restaurant. In Trafalgar Square I bump into the villagers of Balcombe who mean to stop the fracking. They are dancing to attract people and thereby gain public support.

I worried that the portraits of Elizabethans might be too formal for Christian to appreciate. You just have to imagine what they would look like in real life – from another planet. Elizabeth, her dress covered in embroidery and jewels, dazzling in the light – flickering in candlelight, her head, her white face in an aura of soft frizzy hair lit with jewels – presented in a ruff and transparent veils, her beautiful hands.

Elizabeth I Procession Portrait

The exhibition has objects as well as painting. It shows the different pins she would need to get dressed, starting with small fine pints to pin the ruff. Getting dressed was a big deal. Her most impressive dress is this one where she is being carried through the streets on show to her people. First of all, it’s all one colour and that colour is white, architectural and plain but for the fact that it is covered all over with the one uniform decorative effect, which is studded with jewels.
It’s the most minimal dress; it acts like a heraldic shield with just one great badge of a jewel on the sleeve:  I am the monarch.


When I look at paintings I notice the age of the painter and in portraits, the age of the sitter. Half of them die around 40 and death from old age is 65. Regarding these portraits, Bess of Hardwick lived into her 80’s and survived 4 husbands. In one family the young wife, aged c.24 already had 4 or 5 children. And this is in a family rich enough to have their portraits painted.  You married young, women died in childbirth, child mortality was high.

Youth must have been so short, children brought up with the idea that they would soon be married and live the same life as their parents. Courting was very important, the most lovely time of your life if you were lucky, truly springtime.

“It Was a Lover and His Lass” BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

It was a lover and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o’er the green cornfield did pass,
In springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring. 

Between the acres of the rye,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
Those pretty country folks would lie,
In springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring. 

This carol they began that hour,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that a life was but a flower
In springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring. 

And therefore take the present time,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crownèd with the prime
In springtime, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

Wednesday, 23 Oct:  Our friend, Bruno invited us to the opening of “Masterpieces of Chinese Painting” at the V&A. You know my passion for Chinese painting. This exhibition is possibly the most high –level ever mounted. It has the originals of some of the most famous paintings we have seen in reproduction. And everyone talks of the honour given to the painting by the superb display. You have to see it to realize the height of genius that human civilization has been capable of. It is going to have an earth-shattering impact on the values of those who visit.


date c.1130

I want to give an idea of Chinese civilization by quoting and discussing points made by Bertrand Russell in his book “The Problem of China” published 1922. This was the period after the last dynasty had fallen brought about by foreign exploitation and whilst the revolutionaries were fighting each other for power. Russell was teaching in China. He was called Lo Su, the nearest approximation in the Chinese language to his surname, Russell.

Chinese control over such a large area was made possible by its geography: the Gobi Desert to the north, the Himalayas to the west, peaceful people living in the south and a smooth coastline in the east with only one main lump, Korea, that people could section off and occupy.


The population of China was then 350 million.


All three features contributed to China’s stability.

1.)     Letters of the alphabet can be written down by sound and this is convenient but Chinese symbols represent an idea e.g. I heard that the symbol for the word strength is a reed that can bend but doesn’t snap and when you learn to write the symbol (ideogram) the strokes you make represent this picture.


Add to this that the language is full of homonyms e.g. “bat” and “fortune” are words with the same sound so an image of a bat can represent good luck.

All this gives me feeling that in the Chinese language everything in the world is connected or can be connected. The Chinese love riddles which, with these extra allusions and  contradictions it would be beyond our scope to guess and a poem must evoke other memories.

An ideogram is solid, square and beautiful.


It has been suggested that there is a lack of solidity in alphabet civilizations, that we are more fickle:

“No other people is richer in ideas than they, but no people would give up their ideas as quickly as they do” (from an article in a Chinese magazine quoted by Russell)

2.) Confucius (BC.551-479) must be reckoned in importance with the founders of religions. His influence on institutions and men’s thoughts has been of the same kind of magnitude. What makes him different is that he inculcated a strict code of ethics whose aims were towards a peaceful and prosperous community on earth.


Confucianism tolerated religion, ancestor worship, Taoism and Buddism but the literati – the scholars and bureaucrats who ran the government – were pure Confucians, sceptical in religion but not in morals. Even so, though wars were not religious, revolutions and wars have occurred constantly.  “However Confucian calm has survived them all, making them less terrible for the participants, and making all who were not immediately involved hold aloof”, writes Russell.

3.) Russell:


These officials were called the literati. They were rewarded with administrative posts according to their success in exams, they were scholars and art lovers, artist and poets, so there was great prestige in being cultivated.


Due to the literati there was also a respect for beauty. Russell comments that the Chinese were an artistic people, taking pleasure in small things and even among the most hard-pressed  a delight in being happy.

After the opening about 40 people went to Bruno’s house for sit down dinner – beautiful tableware and prime quality food. Bruno is Chinese and I think his family are Chinese American investors. He is cultivated and has some sensational Chinese objects and paintings. He also had some modern abstract paintings – churned up colour of paint as thick as possible applied to canvas.

I was sitting next to Patrick Schumacher, the creative and business partner of Zaha Hadid. He made a statement some of you may be interested in: abstract art had a radical influence on design, it freed-up architecture.

It was late so we left before the pudding – I was happy, I had filled up on Kimchi – Andreas had to go early in the morning to Vienna, one reason being interviews because he has designed the costumes  for the ballet interlude of the Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s concert – televised for millions.

Night thinking:  Usually I don’t need to set an alarm because my work time is flexible so it’s alright if I wake up in the night. I have close on 50 quotations, some of them poetry but mostly well-expressed ideas in prose, on average half a page long. I find them so useful; by going over them they form a reference for further thought, for illuminating other ideas and as an anchor for my thinking. If I want to go back to sleep I silently quote an old familiar and I’m usually asleep before I finish, otherwise I go over a recently learnt text to fix it and think about it. Usually I let my mind wander.

One night I was thinking of our rulers, a fact made clear by recent whistleblower from the World Bank, Karen Hudes.

This printing of useless toilet paper money by the central banks is out of control. They are in a Catch 22 situation: if they stop printing money there will be world financial collapse, if they continue there will be collapse sooner or later. Once the money collapses the rulers will have no power, their days are numbered.

What would I do now if I were the president of China to avoid my country being dragged down by the dollar?

First I would claim the moral high ground by attending to human rights, and so shame America and expose her hypocrisy on human rights; stop further production of all useless goods ( they are bad for the economy and cause inflation – in this case you are better off paying people not to work) Instead of short term free-market economy I would switch to long-term planned economy dealing with

good planetinstead of storing up trouble for the future.

Take this seriously, I thought, what can I do? Get somebody to talk to the Chinese president. Start by talking to Bruno, he might know somebody. At the same time I thought, I won’t do it, it’s unrealistic. But it’s probably the best thing I could do – it’s worth a try because it could save us.

Likewise the terrible Putin. Start by talking to the Russian you met on the T.V. programme when you discussed the Arctic 30, he was an intelligent man.

China is under stress, tyrants like Putin and the rulers of the central banks are under mounting stress and this pushes them to extremes.

e.g. The world famous conductor Gergiev who because of his phenomenal talent and enterprise has until now been a cultural ambassador for Russia is now in an untenable position because of the contradiction posed by Putin’s repression. Gergiev has ignored this but now his role is being challenged especially by gay rights.

I have a couple of things to add. One is that like everybody I spend time with family and friends  – and their troubles and joys but I seem to have less time than ever. I don’t mention them often because that’s not what I want to talk to you about. I mention Pamela often because she’s well-known and so that means you’re more interested in her.

Pamela with Ellen Degeneres

Pamela with Ellen DeGeneres, raising sponsorship for Haiti, she finished the NY marathon with $75.000

I just wanted to show you this  photo of Mrs Purcell on her 100th birthday. Well done Celia. Celia is the mother of my friend Maureen who died. Celia now has many grand-children and great grand-children. Maureen went to live in South Africa, she was a hairdresser and developed products for black people’s hair. No one did this at the time, she was a pioneer and others took her idea and these same products were then used for white people everywhere – volume boosters, etc. When Maureen trained no one mentioned that perm lotions could ruin your lungs but that’s what happened to Maureen, she had asthma, then emphysema and tuberculosis from which she died.


In my town Glossop, where I went to school, Maureen’s family kept a hardware store and lived at the back. Celia changed the light fitting often, putting them back to sell in the shop.

When I first went to Maureen’s home, after school and met her mother the first thing she said was, “Hello Vivienne. Do you like my new light fitting? Put some coal on love, it’s out the back.” The family was Jewish, there were two Jewish families in Glossop. I loved the family they were so lively. Maureen stayed with her cousins some weekends in Manchester 12 miles away, Celia lives there now. She had to go dancing there so she would find a Jewish husband. They went ice-skating. Glossop was really in the country. I remember at Easter when our group of friends went hiking in the Pennines how Maureen wasn’t allowed bread for her packed lunch – the Matza biscuits were all broken and mixed up with the squashed tomatoes.

The last thing is something my yoga teacher Tom passed on to us: we all have different bodies, we are each better at some things than others, by accepting our yoga practice we improve. Don’t be in competition with your body. Be kind to yourself. You are perfect now. This struck me as expressing what Matthew Arnold meant when he defined culture as the pursuit of our perfection.
Once you have really begun your journey to find art you are perfect now and you will discover more.


Venice Carnival - a copy of Elizabeth I white dress made by a student when I was teaching in Berlin

Venice Carnival – a copy of Elizabeth I white dress made by a student when I was teaching in Berlin

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