Vivienne Westwood’s Alice

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In the year of the 150th Anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, we have just acquired a limited edition of Carroll’s children’s classic, designed by renowned fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.

Alice’s Adventures is one of Westwood’s favourite children’s books, and one she believes should be at the top of every child’s reading list. She observes “The importance of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is that things are never what they seem.  They can have their own strange logic which has nothing to do with any kind of conventional logic but it is just as real. I think this is a very good attitude or lesson for a child to have – so they’re not always so complacent about believing what they’re told.”

Carroll’s book has proved hugely influential to designers and artists since it was first published. An exhibition at Tate in 2011 explored the many ways in which artists have worked with and against Carroll’s text.

Carroll’s book has influenced Westwood’s collections in the past, and in particular the Red Label Autumn/Winter 2011-2012 collection. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the classic story, and to celebrate she has designed a unique dust jacket and endpapers and has written an introduction. Her introduction explains her passion for the story and how it links to her personal manifesto for positive activism. The cover features a deconstructed Harlequin print in a matt and gloss finish. The Harlequin print has a long history in Westwood’s work stretching back to the 1980s, and represents the best-known character from the Italian Commedia dell’Arte.

The book also features the original illustrations by Sir John Tenniel which were very important to Westwood: “When you read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, you’ll see the original drawings by Tenniel which also help to make the book so sensational. They are how we normally think of Alice – a little girl with a band holding her hair back. Because they are so brilliant, the drawings are an important part of appreciating the story”.

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