The Vivienne Westwood Personal Collection Philanthropy Auction

a la une, Fashion

Vivienne’s personal wardrobe and playing cards were sold to raise funds for the charitable causes supported by Vivienne Westwood.

The auction totaled £754,488, with 100% of the items sold.

Three dresses from the collections: “Propaganda,” “Dressed to Scale,” & “Witches”

Christie’s London took great pride in paying tribute to the revolutionary British designer and activist, Vivienne Westwood, by auctioning her personal wardrobe to support the charitable causes she championed throughout her life. The live and online sales amassed a remarkable total of £754,488, with proceeds donated to The Vivienne Foundation, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, and Greenpeace. Each piece in the auction told a story, capturing a significant moment from the four-decade career of one of modern fashion’s most influential figures.

Among the standout items was “The Big Picture,” Vivienne’s collection of playing cards created to benefit Greenpeace. This limited edition set, with ten deluxe portfolios, including one in an exclusive hand-embroidered linen box, fetched £37,800, becoming the highest-selling lot.

A taupe silk taffeta corset dress from the “Dressed to Scale” collection, worn by Westwood at a 1998 gala in her honor at the V&A Museum, sold for £32,760.

Vivienne wearing a dress from the "Dressed to Scale" collection (© Richard Young / Shutterstock)

Vivienne wearing a dress from the “Dressed to Scale” collection (© Richard Young / Shutterstock)

Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Amnesty International UK, highlighted Vivienne Westwood’s activism:

Dame Vivienne Westwood was a rebel with a cause, a pioneer and a provocateur who tirelessly fought for a fairer world. The queen of punk was an activist to her core, with her art and advocacy inseparable. Amnesty is immensely proud to have had Dame Vivienne’s boundless support in the fight for human rights. This extraordinarily generous donation and partnership help continue the fight for a world where everyone can enjoy freedom and dignity. Dame Vivienne’s activism will live on”​

John Sauven, former Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, commented on Westwood’s philanthropic efforts:

“Throughout her life, Vivienne used her voice to wage an unrelenting fight for justice. She constantly highlighted corruption in the world and did her utmost to make it a better place. Vivienne’s ambition before she died was to raise significant funds for Greenpeace, to help protect our rainforests and oceans, and save the planet from climate change. Greenpeace is honored to benefit from this philanthropic effort”​

Andreas Kronthaler, husband of Vivienne Westwood and Creative Director of Vivienne Westwood, expressed his gratitude, stating:

“What a wonderful day to wake up to. Thank you Christie’s… three quarters of a million raised for Greenpeace, The Vivienne Foundation, Amnesty International, and Médecins Sans Frontières”​

Another highlight, the “Cinderella” dress from the “Gaia The Only One” collection, showcased Westwood’s belief that clothes should have longevity.

This blue satin gown with visible hand stitching was auctioned for £25,200.

From the “Propaganda” collection, a printed cotton dress with a striped apron and blouse sold for £16,380. The “Always On Camera” collection, inspired by 1930s Hollywood glamour, featured a three-piece Harris Tweed suit that fetched £15,120. Continuing the Hollywood theme, a nude-effect gown from the “World Wide Woman” collection adorned with golden sequins was purchased for £8,820.

The auction also included striking jewelry and accessories, such as a three-strand pearl choker with an oversized gold-tone orb from the “Anglomania” collection, which sold for £10,080.

The free public exhibition “Vivienne Westwood: The Personal Collection,” held at Christie’s King Street headquarters from June 14 to 24, drew over 20,000 visitors, celebrating the enduring legacy and influence of Vivienne Westwood.

Dr. Natalie Roberts, Executive Director of MSF UK, Médicins Sans Frontières, praised Westwood’s legacy:

We are deeply honored and grateful to Vivienne Westwood for choosing Médecins Sans Frontières as one of the beneficiaries of her auction. Vivienne’s rebellious spirit and dedication to defending and raising awareness of the plight of some of the most marginalized people in society have always been a beacon of inspiration. Though she left us in 2022, her legacy of challenging norms and championing vital causes continues to resonate. This act of generosity amplifies our mission to provide medical care in the toughest environments, reminding us of the profound impact of speaking out and taking courageous actions. Vivienne’s unwavering commitment to making a difference lives on through this extraordinary gesture”​

The profound impact and enduring legacy of Vivienne Westwood’s activism and philanthropy are highlighted by the significant contributions made through the auction of her personal collection. It was much more than a sale of items; it was a celebration of a life dedicated to making a difference. This ensures that Westwood’s legacy of creativity, advocacy, and generosity lives on, inspiring future generations to continue her work in making the world a better place.