The latest edition of Paris Fashion Week has been as lively as ever, with no shortage of viral moments and surprises. Our highlight was the opportunity to attend the latest Vivienne Westwood by Andreas Kronthaler show, and speak about the late icon with some of the people closest to her.

Our contributor, Marzenka Kwintera, collaborated with actress, model and Westwood’s muse, Tolula Adeyemi about her favourite memories of the Queen of Punk. Tolula collected stories from close friends and colleagues, that we have gathered here in a tribute article for one of fashion’s biggest icons.

Tolula Adeyemi (Actress, DJ, Model)

“In my modeling career I have been very lucky to early on shoot for British Vogue and then Teen Vogue and be featured in Italian Vogue online. I worked with Rankin regularly and David Bailey and many others and walked for Pam Hogg’s fashion shows. But when I was cast in Vivienne Westwood’s Gold and Red Label global campaigns – alongside Vivienne, Andreas, Tafahri Lady Lloyd – it really catapulted my modeling career and changed my life. I walked 5 shows for her. I remember colouring my hair a shade of red similar to Vivienne’s, I was so inspired by her. This is when i was introduced to her incredible world of activism. We met one evening at a screening in London of a climate change documentary Hosted by actress and activist Greta Scacchi. Vivienne asked why I attended, I said I am interested in climate change. She told me to read her manifesto and to get involved. At the time I was making the transition to LA and film. I regret not getting more involved in her activism at the time. I remember my first luxury purchase when i first started modeling as a teen, I saved up to buy the re-edition pirate boots in sand colour suede. I still have them. It was so incredible to be here today at the AW23 show in Paris to talk to Joe Corré about the shows and his career. To see and talk to Sara Stockbridge, Vivienne’s long time muse from the 80s, I remember seeing her in magazines when I was at school, such a huge fan. The show was incredible so emotional and beautiful. Cora Corré looked stunning and seeing her close the show with Andrea was beautiful and moving”

Carlo (CEO of Vivienne Westwood)

“I first met Vivienne Westwood in 1985 in Paris. I had a publicity agency called Casanova back then and friends invited me to Paris. I went to see the World’s End show. My generation was The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, not Punk, but anyway I go to Paris, I remember going to Cafe Angelina for the show. My friend introduced us backstage, Vivienne said: “I want to change the world with fashion”. 

I want to speak about fashion: fashion is an excuse to do something else. We do fashion shows to come together, to see many people, like I haven’t seen some people here today for years. It’s an excuse to be together. Fashion has changed a lot, the fashion business started in 1975 with Yves Saint Laurent, Prêt-à-porter. 15 years in fashion is like 200 years, fashion is so fast. The car business is 20 years, meaning it goes in cycles. For example, you see today we are at Place de la Concorde (where the AW23 show took place) this is where the French revolution took place, the Guillotine etc. And now we are here in this big palace where all the aristocrats once were and the young people are waiting outside to catch a glimpse of the show, the celebrities. These people outside are the ones who buy fashion. They fund the industry, but these people are outside watching. Now what we must do is put the young people inside and these people outside. This is what we call the French revolution today. That is a fashion moment. Today the consumer has changed, it’s a fast fashion world today. In the 60s you go to the cinema on a date, then it was DVDs and now Netflix/streaming online. Food, you used to sit in a cafe and restaurant now it’s fast food. Vivienne Westwood is the house you see today because of 300 people in our team working around the world. The label has changed. Valentino when he was 30 dressed Jacqueline Kennedy. Today it’s different, the designer labels have changed (business structure) the consumer has changed. The fashion business has changed. ” 

Daniel Lismore (Artist): 

“The first time I met Vivienne Westwood was with her Mum, her mother introduced us. But when we connected it was few years later at Joe Corré’s show. And my friend Robert Pinnock introduced me to Vivienne. And that we have the same ideas about the world and that we need to talk. So we get her manifesto and Vivienne and I sat down over wine and a packet of cheese and onion crisps, which I don’t like but I ate with her because I was nervous. We spoke about Julian Assange and the state of the planet. And then she asked me to get involved in her climate revolution, she was starting it literally at that point. And then I worked for her on and off for 13 years. But with Vivienne, not with the company. So with Vivienne’s activism” 

Séverin Salvemoser (music composer. Tolula briefly spoke with him about the music for the show)

 “I first stared working with Vivienne Westwood in 2021 and I composed her last show. I composed the show today and my sister sang at Vivienne’s memorial in London in February.”

These memories show the impact that the late designer had not only on fashion, but art and activism. Thank you to everyone who shared their story.

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