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Vivienne Westwood

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by haoshcn, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. haoshcn

    haoshcn Member

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    I still don't understand why she has been such a failure in the US market.  Could any American explain it to me? (BTW, I am not an American in myself.)  Several months ago, I called their office in London and asked them if there's still any store/boutique in the US that carried their stuff since all of their own boutiques in this country had been out of business for quite a while, the answer is "No".   But she is such a big name in Europe and Asia, particularly in Japan.  She does have quite a few outlandish and highly unwearable designs for both men and women, but if you follow her fashion shows, you'll find in each season she always has some very wearable and unusual pieces, are there not a small group of clientele to appreciate her even in New York city?  I just find it so disappointing.

    I was in Chicago last weekend.  I went to check the Agnes b. boutique and suddenly found it became "American Apparel" store now.  I was really astonished.  I have never been a big fan of Agnes b. but I still think she's ten times better than stuff like Kenneth Cole or Michael Kors.  If Chicago doesn't support her, I guess sooner or later her business in east and west coast will also go bankrupt.  

    And then at the Saks men's store in Chicago, you see all the Issey Miyake clothes are on final sale and each piece has full sizes, which means hardly anything has been sold.  Actually the buyers of Saks Chicago bought the most wearable and unchallenging stuff from Issey Miyake this Spring/Summer season, but obviously Chicago gentlemen still didn't accept it.

    I am not making judgement upon the mainstream male customers in this country, just find their taste of clothing so much confusing and with which I have hardly any identification I guess.
     
  2. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    People are too conservative, and they like to wear casual type clothing which Vivienne Westwood doesn't do well.

    She herself is quoted as saying disliking sportswear.
     
  3. benchan

    benchan Senior member

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    Read the main board more and you will understand.

    Well, let see, Agnes b Homme collection

    Suit-Fused
    Ties-No seven fold; most ties are narrow and the silk quality is mediocre
    Shirts-Doubt anyone will get their shirts from there with so many other options out there....and their paisley shirts aren't for everyone.
    Messenger bag- why not jack Spade(more colorful) or Porter(more durable)
     
  4. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    just find their taste of clothing so much confusing and with which I have hardly any identification I guess.
    Read the main board more and you will understand. Well, let see, Agnes b Homme collection Suit-Fused Ties-No seven fold; most ties are narrow and the silk quality is mediocre Shirts-Doubt anyone will get their shirts from there with so many other options out there....and their paisley shirts aren't for everyone. Messenger bag- why not jack Spade(more colorful) or Porter(more durable)
    Agnes B really isn't considered a label on the rank of Westwood.
     
  5. stache

    stache Senior member

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    I think that people are reacting to higher prices in certain imported clothing lines due to the weak dollar. At that price point, I think that a lot of people want a garment that they know that they can wear for several years.
     
  6. Brian SD

    Brian SD Senior member

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    VW's designs never fell into any trend groups that are popular in the US, and the current trend in fashion of the Hedi Slimane dude is too recent for her to ride any wave of success off of.
     
  7. Etruscan

    Etruscan Senior member

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    I don't doubt that Westwood does some nice things (I have a couple of her ties that are unusual without being over-the-top), but most of her pieces just seem outlandish, clownish even, and moreover the fabrics are generally not good--both ugly and uncomfortable. (Rubberized denim? Ugh.) Westwood strikes me as being more of a huckster (interested in selling) than a designer (interested in creating beautiful objects). Ironically, however, her wares are often so peculiar looking as to repel, rather than attract, customers. For the most part, her clothes seem to be for club kids and other fashion victims. I'm all for eccentricity (especially the English variety--Zandra Rhodes is a genius) but Westwood seems to try too hard. But then, I find gratuitous novelty unwearable.
     
  8. haoshcn

    haoshcn Member

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    I agree that she does have lots of ridiculous designs.  But who says you should buy those ridiculous pieces?  She has been active in British Fashion scene for several decades and still does good business.  I don't think that's because of her outlandish design but because of those wearable and distinctive clothing and accessories sold in her stores.  I don't consider her as one of the best  and the most contemporary desingers around the world but I think she is someone an interesting fashion market should be able to accomodate.  Isn't she more interesting than Dolce&Gabbana?  If Dolce&Gabbana could make hundreds of millions of dollars in the US, why shouldn't there be a small group of customers here to support her?

    I can't help talking about my shopping experience in Chicago again.  I checked the Neiman Marcus men's section on the second floor.  They have a small Prada corner over there.  I was so suprised to find that almost all the clothes were almost identical to what I saw over there the same time of last year ( it's definitely not my exaggeration).  Isn't there any piece of clothing from Prada for this coming Fall/Winter season that's different from last year to buy?  Why do their buyers always have to buy only those most basic and uniform-looking black mid-length jackets and dress-shirts from Prada?  Is that all their understanding of Prada?  Again I am not a big fan of Prada, but still think she has something more than uniforms for the buyers of any luxury store like Neiman Marcus.
     
  9. johnapril

    johnapril Senior member

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    Prada doesn't offer Needless Markup the same items it offers through its boutique.  Needless has a nice Oxxford and Isaia selection.  You might pop into George Greene and check out the Lattanzis and Kitons and the $10,000 leather jackets.  Far more entertaining than sniffling over the Prada corner at Needless.
     
  10. Etruscan

    Etruscan Senior member

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    Not having been to any of Westwood's stores, I suppose I haven't seen the more wearable things you describe (other than neckties, a couple of which I've bought). And haunting the outlets and discount sources as I do, no doubt I'm more likely to see items that have not been successful in commercial terms.

    I agree that Westwood is more interesting than Dolce & Gabbana, and is no more outrageous, per se, but rather, whereas many of D&G's things are often over-the-top in a Eurotrash/sluttish way, hers sometimes have a primly clownish air about them. But these are my opinions only, based on limited experience and observation. I enjoy looking at her work, but seldom think of acquiring it. As I had understood the question to be, why hasn't Westwood's business been more successful in the U.S., I thought I'd offer my thoughts on the subject.
     
  11. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    Vivienne Westwood really makes her mark in women's wear, and the couture line she has which is called Vivienne Westwood Gold Label shown in Paris. Her signature, more or less, is the method of historical draping, and cutting for the clothing; a sort of deconstruction in a sense. One of her undeniable influences is the French, and English Baroque, and there is distinct notes of Westwood's cutting in Galliano for Dior. [​IMG]
     
  12. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    She is always in financial insolvency so one cannot really make a case of her as being a "huckster."
     
  13. haoshcn

    haoshcn Member

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    Love you so much Labelking. [​IMG] You see, there are always people everywhere in this country who know only a tiny bit about any subject but never hesitate to talk about it like ultimate authority, which is what I find the most repulsive of America. Â The best way to understand and judge any fashion designer is to check his/her fashion shows and the collections from season to season. Â Vivienne Westwood has done so many marvelous clothing for women fashion for several decades and still remains active, that's really admirable. Â I have been following her men's collections during the last several years. Â Yes, sometimes there's too much theatricality (but still always much less than men's collections of Galliano which Bergdorf Goodman never stops carrying), and not every season is consistantly good, but as I said before, you can always single out some highly wearble and still unusual pieces in each season's show. Â To judge her only based on several bad pieces from several years ago found in some trashy outlet malls, that's something a wise person won't do. I suspect her failure in the US might be attributed to her bad public relations. Â You never see any coverage of her fashion shows in any major American fashion magazine. Â In the entire archive of women fashion shows as of 2000 on style.com website, I didn't find a single picture or report on her shows, let alone her men's collections. Â How much influence do the major media and those fashion editors (and probably also the buyers of stores like Saks and NM ) have upon consumers' taste and purchase choices in this country? Â That's a subject I find interesting. Â If there's actually a huge influence existing, from what I have seen so far on people's purchasing habits, it doesn't look so constructive.
     
  14. stache

    stache Senior member

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    Sheesh... While the poster of this comment is from a mystery point of origin, let me make an educated guess and say Japan. Am I correct? Have you read the Westwood biography? She is not a terrific businesswoman. She does have a genius for publicity. But really, at the end of the day, she's pretty much a one trick pony. Further, I think that Chicago is a smaller town than you might be led to believe, and they are more in tune with generic brand/label effects. Somebody with the kind of money to go for more unusual garments of that nature would not hesitate to fly to NYC etc. for serious shopping, or have it delivered to their home for inspection.
     
  15. hermes

    hermes Senior member

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    the interesting thing is that the victoria and albert museum in britain had a recent retrospective on her (last year), basically showcasing her history of design and clothing and indicating her influence on others over the years - an interesting view and choice http://www.vam.ac.uk/vastatic/micros...enne_westwood/
     
  16. johnapril

    johnapril Senior member

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    No, he's a medical student in Indianapolis, Indiana; I think he's Middle Eastern or Indian, can't recall.. He's pretty disenchanted with the absence of style in plain-Jane Middle American.
     
  17. itzamazing

    itzamazing Senior member

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    Originally Posted by Etruscan,July 07 2005,07:54
    I don't doubt that Westwood does some nice things (I have a couple of her ties that are unusual without being over-the-top), but most of her pieces just seem outlandish, clownish even, and moreover the fabrics are generally not good--both ugly and uncomfortable. (Rubberized denim? Â Ugh.) Â Westwood strikes me as being more of a huckster (interested in selling) than a designer (interested in creating beautiful objects). Â Ironically, however, her wares are often so peculiar looking as to repel, rather than attract, customers. Â For the most part, her clothes seem to be for club kids and other fashion victims. Â I'm all for eccentricity (especially the English variety--Zandra Rhodes is a genius) but Westwood seems to try too hard. Â But then, I find gratuitous novelty unwearable.
    I agree that she does have lots of ridiculous designs.  But who says you should buy those ridiculous pieces?  She has been active in British Fashion scene for several decades and still does good business.  I don't think that's because of her outlandish design but because of those wearable and distinctive clothing and accessories sold in her stores.  I don't consider her as one of the best  and the most contemporary desingers around the world but I think she is someone an interesting fashion market should be able to accomodate.  Isn't she more interesting than Dolce&Gabbana?  If Dolce&Gabbana could make hundreds of millions of dollars in the US, why shouldn't there be a small group of customers here to support her? I can't help talking about my shopping experience in Chicago again.  I checked the Neiman Marcus men's section on the second floor.  They have a small Prada corner over there.  I was so suprised to find that almost all the clothes were almost identical to what I saw over there the same time of last year ( it's definitely not my exaggeration).  Isn't there any piece of clothing from Prada for this coming Fall/Winter season that's different from last year to buy?  Why do their buyers always have to buy only those most basic and uniform-looking black mid-length jackets and dress-shirts from Prada?  Is that all their understanding of Prada?  Again I am not a big fan of Prada, but still think she has something more than uniforms for the buyers of any luxury store like Neiman Marcus.
    I was in the Neimans in DC (or is it Maryland??) and I saw that they were carrying some seasonal Prada bags for men from Spring 04 for full price. The stock was awful, but it likely doesn't do too well in the markets where selection is limited.
     
  18. haoshcn

    haoshcn Member

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    Ha ha, sorry, you are wrong, I am neither Japanese, nor Arab or Indian, I am Chinese.  Don't know why someone has the impression that I am Arab or Indian.

    I am sorry that I kept complaining about the lack of fashion scene in Mid-west America.  I guess I was just a bit upset after coming back from Chicago last weekend since I really wished to buy something before going, but it turned out the only thing I bought was a long-sleeved shirt from Issey Miyake at Saks, which I don't even like very much now and have decided to return.

    BTW, if someone likes Issey Miyake and lives close to Chicago, I suggest you to check the Saks men's store over there.  Last Sunday, I saw quite a few T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts and jackets, blazers over there, and all of them still had full sizes and were 50 or maybe even 60% off.  I like one of the blazers, but unfortunately I am a short guy, usually Miyake and Yamamoto's style of coats/blazers doesn't work on me.
     
  19. johnapril

    johnapril Senior member

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    I have the same experience nearly every time I go to Chicago. The stores are there but there is not much of real interest, I am afraid.
     
  20. thc

    thc Senior member

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    There is one Vivienne Westwood boutique here in NY in SoHo. As far as I know, it's still open, but I haven't been there in 5 or 6 years. Vivienne Westwood's designs just do not appeal to me. As everyone else has said, they're too wild and outlandish. Although because of this thread, I may stop by the boutique and see if there is anything. But in general, I'm not surprised she hasn't done that well in the US.

    As far as Chicago shopping, Chicago has a lot of good stores, but the selection in the stores is severely lacking. Go to other branches in other cities, and you'll see a much more complete collection.
     

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