Vivienne Westwood’s tartan kilts. Illustration: Michael Kirkham
For me it’s not about favourite pieces, it’s more about favourite fabrics, and as I am English it is impossible for me to ignore British culture in my designs. The kilt, for example, is a wonderful garment on its own, although tartans in general are absolutely brilliant. Tartan looks wonderful with everything and tartan with tartan also looks great. It’s a heroic image: the kilt flying and the idea of climbing mountains in this garb with the wind blowing behind you. They have all got stories, these fabrics. The ones I use are often very British: English flannel and barathea wool, Irish linen and Scottish tartan. These fabrics benefit from classic British manufacturing techniques, as represented by Savile Row tradition. However, there are other influences in my work. In particular, I strongly believe that modern fashion results from the fusion of English tailoring techniques and the French couture tradition.