To celebrate the inaugural Sudbury Silk Festival (7 September 2019), Gainsborough’s House is proud to display four ensembles by the iconic British fashion designer and activist Vivienne Westwood. Ranging from the last two decades, they show how Vivienne has repeatedly taken inspiration from historic dress, particularly that of the eighteenth century.
Vivienne first became known in the 1970s for her avant-garde designs that defined punk culture. In the 1980s she started using traditional tailoring techniques and British fabrics and turned to seventeenth and eighteenth-century art for inspiration. It was also the decade that she met her husband and long-time design partner, Andreas Kronthaler. In the early 2000s, Vivienne was appointed Dame of the British Empire and awarded ‘Outstanding Achievement in Fashion’ at the British Fashion Awards.
Vivienne Westwood is one of the last independent global fashion companies in the world. It strives to not only capture the imagination but also to raise awareness of environmental and human rights issues.
We are very grateful to Dame Vivienne Westwood for lending these ensembles.
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88) was born in Sudbury and baptised at the Independent Meeting-House in Friars Street on 14 May 1727, the fifth son and ninth child of John and Mary Gainsborough. In 1958, Gainsborough’s House Society was formed to purchase the house and establish it as a centre for Thomas Gainsborough. The Museum opened to the public in 1961 and has remained open for over 50 years. The beautiful historic garden at the heart of Gainsborough’s House is maintained by a devoted body of volunteers, who garden exclusively with plants that were available in Gainsborough’s lifetime.
Gainsborough’s House Society , Charity No. 1170048 and Company Limited by Guarantee No. 10413978