A Rare Vintage Vivienne Westwood Armour Jacket from the trailblazing designer’s 1988 Time Machine collection, in near-fine condition.
Collection: Time Machine Collection
Date Autumn/winter 1988
Place of origin: United Kingdom
Made from Harris tweed
Size: 40 [UK-12]
Dimensions Front length of Jacket: 59 cm
Back length of jacket: 51cm
Length of sleeve: 57 cm
Condition: Near-fine, worn only twice since original purchase in the late 1980s and has been stored in archival conditions. One careful owner, a London-based collector of British fashion.
Precisely constructed in green and red Harris Tweed and black velvet, this iconic jacket features a tailored waistcoat-cut main body with two lined flap pockets and detachable, epaulette-topped articulated sleeves with leather and metal buckle fastenings. Westwood’s signature orb logo is embroidered on one shoulder and embossed on the buttons. The jacket is fully lined in a low sheen tan/gold fabric.
This “armour jacket”, which dates back to 1988 and in an as-new condition is a stunning exemplar of the Time Machine collection, demonstrating both Vivienne Westwood’s irreverent take on Britain’s heritage and her reverence for traditional tailoring and high- quality artisanal cloth. Referencing the futurist author HG Wells’ 1895 novel of the same name, the Time Machine series (part of her Britain Must Go Pagan collection), meshed Edwardian styling with classical aesthetics and pagan themes. This jacket combines traditional English tailoring with the innovation of articulated arms inspired by medieval armour.
The garment’s structure is formed in Harris Tweed, an exclusive and unique handwoven fabric made on Scotland’s Isle of Harris and protected by its own Act of Parliament, which Westwood called “the royalty of the cloth world”. The Harris Tweed Act of 1993 defines the fabric as “Handwoven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides”. A similar jacket can be seen in the collection of the National Museums Scotland
Dame Vivienne Westwood (1941 - 2022) was lauded worldwide for her gloriously eccentric and provocative clothes. One of British fashion's most famous designer's, she was, paradoxically, both one of the creators of establishment-dissing punk style and a leading conduit for British tradition. Applying her witty rebel aesthetic to classical ideas and traditional tailoring, she created contemporary mash-ups that were part-fashion, part-art. Dedicating herself to re-energising the past by imagining it afresh, she combined traditional fabrics with innovative and contemporary cuts.
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