On the 15th March 2018, Film Director, Lorna Tucker, hosted the UK Cinema premiere of her latest documentary about the legendary British icon, Dame Vivienne Westwood, at the Everyman Cinema. The world premiere of the film took place at the 2018 Sundance film festival on November 29th, 2017.
After a generous number of complimentary bar snacks, starters and drinks at the retro-themed bar, guests headed to their delegated cinema screen room to watch the highly anticipated and first feature-length documentary to be dedicated to the 76-year-old fashion designer and activist, Vivienne Westwood.
Before the lights dimmed, Tucker made a short and humble speech about herself and her contributions to the creative sector. There was a palpable sense of pride and relief in her voice as Tucker admitted that it took her years of unpaid work, persistence and rejection to get to where she is today- a mother of three, writer and documentary maker.
"Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist" documents the pivotal moments in Westwood's personal life and career. Tucker takes you through the rise of Westwood, who together with the late Malcolm McLaren, lead the anti-establishment Punk movement in the 70s on the Kings Road in London. The documentary, however, primarily focuses on the present, following Westwood as she tries to maintain the legacy and brand reputation she has worked so relentlessly to build.
What impressed me most about Tucker's documentary is the profound and genuine insight she provides to the independently financed fashion designer. There is multiple video footage recorded of Westwood in her natural habitat, from intimate scenes of her responding to Tucker's questions in her bedroom to conversations, or more accurately, remarks of disappointment, directed towards her employees in the studio.
I was aware that Westwood made the decision to denounce links to Tucker's documentary, which her team explained in a public statement posted on Twitter on January 19th 2018. In all honesty, I initially assumed that Westwood's reason was that Tucker shared footage of Westwood during some of her most vulnerable moments. In one scene, Westwood confronts her employees for failing to listen to her instructions for the upcoming collection and expresses her concerns for the future of the Vivienne Westwood label.
To my surprise, the actual reason why Westwood chose not to be affiliated with the documentary is due to the lack of acknowledgement Tucker gave to the designer's activism. In the Twitter statement, Westwood's brand representatives said: "there's not even 5 minutes activism in the film, instead there's lots of old fashion footage which is free and available to view online". Tucker didn't seem to be phased by Westwood's reaction and continues to support and express her admiration for the designer.
Nevertheless, this is a must-see documentary if you are interested in delving into the complex and fascinating history of the outspoken Punk icon and activist. "Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist" will officially be released in UK cinemas on the 23rd March 2018.