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Nicky Haslam on sharing a lover with Elsa Schiaparelli and the endearing punk of Vivienne Westwood

A review of Elsa Schiaparelli, by Meryle Secrest, and Vivienne Westwood, by Vivienne Westwood and Ian Kelly. There's some trendy guff in Westwood's autobiography. But Haslam finds more to love in the caring Westwood than in the cruel Schiap

15 November 2014

9:00 AM

15 November 2014

9:00 AM

Elsa Schiaparelli Meryle Secrest

Fig Tree, pp.377, £25, ISBN: 97805711311187

Vivienne Westwood Vivienne Westwood and Ian Kelly

Picador, pp.463, £25, ISBN: 9781447254126

A comet streaked into France in the 1930s, its fallout sending the staid echelons of haute couture into a tailspin. A mere 30 years later a rogue missile blasted into London, blowing dainty English clothes sense to smithereens. Both these thunderbolts shot the stuffing out of cloying conventionality, one with an arrow-narrow silhouette, the other by blitzing the luxe out of luxury, the ex out of exclusivity.

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Elsa Schiaparelli, £20 and Vivienne Westwood, £22.50 are available from the Spectator Bookshop Tel: 08430 600033. Nicky Haslam’s  memoir A Designer’s Life will be published later this month.

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