It's International Women's Day. I haven't written on my blog for some time but figure that today is a good day to pay homage to one of my all-time fave female persons, Vivienne Westwood, with an extract from the latest issue of my zine Astrobabble. Happy IWD, girlfriends!
One of the main features of Vivienne Westwood’s natal chart is the placement of the Sun (Aries), Moon (Leo) and Rising sign (Sagittarius) in fire signs, so we expect her to make a dramatic impact. The spontaneity of her temperament and penchant for innovation (Moon square Uranus) raised street fashion to haute couture. Vanity is a potential fault (four planets and Ascendant in fire element). Westwood once boasted that she gains undivided male attention in a room full of beautiful women. Fashion entrepreneur, Gene Krell, said of Westwood as punk rock catalyst in the 1970s that ‘her attitude, her body language, her look was striking – it took your breath away’. Aspects to Uranus (Moon square Uranus, Mercury sextile Uranus, and Saturn conjunct Uranus) point towards flamboyancy and exhibitionism, enabling Westwood to seize opportunities and take risks. Eccentricity is a feature (Moon square Uranus):
‘…I am unorthodox … I’m never satisfied to do things the way other people do them … I am proudly eccentric’
She is attracted to ingenuity and novelty, but may also be perverse, finding herself at odds with the establishment and taking the law into her own hands (Mars opposite Pluto). Westwood has shown courage against the ‘taste dictatorship of the masses’ (her words). This is compatible with her involvement with Malcolm McLaren and the punk movement. Fashion as a threat to society in the form of Teddy Boys, Mods and Rockers, and the jeans/t-shirt look of James Dean and Marlon Brando are the foundations of Westwood’s work as a fashion designer, but more than that, Westwood created acceptance through alternative fashion trends because these were the uniforms of society’s social rejects. Misfits, minority groups, the unemployed and disabled felt relevant through her clothes. Her designs gave women a license to dress assertively and to own the tools of subjection, usually reserved for men, like whips, razor blades and chains. This had not been the case with previous music cults.
Westwood said of Malcolm McLaren, ‘I felt there were so many doors to open, and he had the key to all of them’. They became involved after meeting in 1965 through Westwood’s brother, Gordon. Together they sought new forms of expression (McLaren’s Aquarian Sun conjunct Westwood’s Aquarian Mars). The relationship had a strong Uranian signature. Ideas were important to them. McLaren’s Uranus trining her Midheaven signified mutual career goals that involved nonconformity and purpose. A student at Croydon Art School, McLaren had his finger on the pulse where contemporary culture was concerned and enjoyed the idea of using art as a way of creating chaos (Moon conjunct Neptune in Libra). Westwood held the technical ability to translate his ideas into clothing (Saturn in the sixth house). So began the evolving vision of Westwood and McLaren that was to change the cultural climate of Britain in the 1970s, the effects of which still prevail.
This extract is taken from Astrobabble, issue 14, available through Red Eye Records, Repressed Records and the zine fairs of Sydney and east coast Oz