‘Oh, we know Vivienne, she’s great.’

Q.
“Punk: Chaos to Couture” is the subject of the next Costume Institute exhibition. What do you think of punk as a subject for a major museum exhibition?

A.
I’ll tell you the truth, not that it is a very good idea to tell the truth about things, but I was very cross with the Metropolitan Museum for not taking my retrospective. [An exhibition about Ms. Westwood was at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2004.] I think it’s ridiculous. I’m also rather bored with American journalists. Every time punk comes up, they think of me as a kind of trophy. ‘Oh, we know Vivienne, she’s great.’ And then you hear nothing from them in between. You know, America is an isolated territory, with all those editors who think they are so powerful. Mostly, I think they are rubbish. And I don’t like fashion magazines either. Someone asked me the other day, if I really was a world controller, what is the first thing I would do. I would stop advertising. The reason why I am proud of my part in the punk movement is that I think it really did implant a message that was already there. The hippies told it to me, but punk made it something cool for people to stand up for, which is that we do not believe government, that we are against government.

Eric Wilson interviews Vivenne Westwood for the New York Times.

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