There aren’t a lot of people for whom the words “punk,” “icon,” and “activist” can all be applied, but Lorna Tucker’s documentary Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist makes a strong case for at least two of those three for genuinely iconic fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood. Tucker follows Westwood’s career from the 1970s, when she originally packaged and sold the concept of punk alongside Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, up to and beyond her ascendency to fashion royalty in the 1980s, including being the first person to win Designer of the Year two years in a row — all despite McLaren actively sabotaging her career after they broke up.
Westwood’s third-act delve into environmental activism doesn’t get much screen time, seeming more like a reaction to her distaste for the steamroller of capitalism, as shops keep being opened under her name but without her input. Meanwhile, something only glimpsed in the background of Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist is the famous 1987 i-D magazine feature about Westwood with her favorite model Sara Stockbridge on the cover, wearing a crown and winking. Winks usually look terrible in still photos, but this one worked, and the image was later used to promote the de Young’s 2007 Westwood exhibit. Stockbridge wears the crown, but the halo is pure Westwood.
Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.