27 Jul 2016

Vivienne Westwood designs MCO choral jackets

In 2016, Dame Vivienne Westwood and Andreas Kronthaler collaborated with Monteverdi Choir & Orchestras to design new concert jackets for the ladies of the Monteverdi Choir. This exciting partnership brought together two of Britain’s iconic artistic institutions with truly international influence. Both share a commitment to creating distinctive work at the highest standard, inspired by the quality of skilled and innovative practitioners from history.

Vivienne Westwood ladies choir jackets

The wrap jacket design was developed by the Vivienne Westwood couture team and tailored specifically for each performer. Created in a grey silk-cotton mix the jacket was developed especially for comfort and elegance. Importantly to the Monteverdi Choir ladies, the jacket was designed to create a formal yet feminine silhouette – with an asymmetric detail to give a signature Westwood look to the jacket.

Dame Vivienne Westwood & Andreas Kronthaler - 2016
Since we first heard them perform, we have made a point of going to concerts by the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras. For us their music-making is different, the sound is brighter and clearer, the music lifts you. It’s bliss to hear them, a tremendous experience. We have also got to know John Eliot and Isabella as friends, and we have been talking for a while about making outfits for the Choir, so we’re really happy it’s finally worked out.’

Sir John Eliot Gardiner - 2016
‘There is an element of ritual to each concert performance, and dress and presentation have always been very important to us. It is important that the choir’s uniform is not only striking, but practical: it needs to be able to withstand long journeys in crammed suitcases and to look smart in venues which at times can be either freezing cold or uncomfortably hot.’

‘Having attended quite a few of our concerts recently, Vivienne and Andreas came up with a beautiful design which is not only incredibly stylish and distinctive, but also eminently sensitive to the singers’ practical needs. I am particularly proud of this new association and extremely grateful to Vivienne and Andreas for this gift. The Monteverdi Choir and Vivienne Westwood practically “grew up” together: they belong in that group of British institutions which continually challenge expectations and conventions. I can’t wait to see the new jackets on stage at our concerts this summer.’

About Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood began designing in 1971 along with her then partner Malcolm McLaren. At the time they used their shop at 430 Kings Road, London, to showcase their ideas and designs. With their changing ideas of fashion came the change of not only the name of the shop but also the décor. It was in 1976 when Westwood and McLaren defined the street culture of Punk with Seditionaries.

By the end of the seventies Vivienne Westwood was already considered a symbol of the British avant-garde and for Autumn/Winter 1981 showed her first catwalk presentation at Olympia in London. Westwood then turned to traditional Savile Row tailoring techniques, using British fabrics and 17th and 18th century art for inspiration.

1989 was the year that Vivienne met Andreas Kronthaler, who would later become her husband and long-time design partner, as well as Creative Director of the brand. In 2004 the Victoria & Albert museum, London, hosted a Vivienne Westwood retrospective exhibition to celebrate her then 34 years in fashion – the largest exhibition ever devoted to a living British fashion designer. In 2006, her contribution to British Fashion was officially recognised when she was appointed Dame of the British Empire by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and in 2007 was awarded the ‘Outstanding Achievement in Fashion’ at the British Fashion Awards in London.

Vivienne Westwood is one of the last independent global fashion companies in the world. At times thought provoking, this brand is about more than producing clothes and accessories. Westwood continues to capture the imagination, and raise awareness of environmental and human rights issues. With a design record spanning over forty years, Vivienne Westwood is now recognized as a global brand and Westwood herself as one of the most influential fashion designers, and activists, in the world today.