Spice Girls are `animals' says the designer who wore no knickers

`Their dreadful clothes, dreadful look and no style'
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The Independent Online
Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, the one-time Queen of Punk whose eccentric clothes have stunned catwalk audiences all over the world, yesterday savaged the neatly packaged Spice Girls pop group as "animals" with no style.

Ms Westwood, who once declared "fashion is about sex", and dressed the Sex Pistols in bondage gear, said that she was morally outraged by the all-woman band, who are currently one of the most popular and influential groups in Britain and much of Europe.

"Those Spice Girls have never had any education, they have never been brought up - they have just been allowed to grow up like animals," she said in a television interview. "Their dreadful clothes, their dreadful look and no style. They are just cultivating this attitude that you should push your way to the top - it doesn't matter if you have talent or not."

The designer, who helped to shape the look of the punk generation of the late Seventies and early Eighties, said that she was appalled at the way the group were being targeted at girls as young as 10. "What people are marketing is disgusting behaviour as a lifestyle. People should be outraged by it. I'm morally outraged by it," she said.

Ms Westwood told presenter Carol Smillie on BBC1's chat show Smillie's People:"I call it child molestation. It's corruption. I really want to attack what I think is corrupting the youth."

While many parents of children obsessed with the Spice Girls may applaud Ms Westwood's outburst, some found her attack on today's generation of pop stars ironic. One pop writer observed:"One can hear the clanging of an elderly pot calling the kettle black."

Ms Westwood's partnership with punk-guru Malcolm McLaren made her a controversial figure as she designed clothes for, among others, Johnny Rotten and Adam Ant. Even when she moved into the mainstream and became more acceptable to the establishment, she retained her ability to shock - as when it became apparent that she had not been wearing knickers when she received her OBE from the Queen in 1992.

However, last summer Ms Westwood, nowadays a keen reader of philosophy, was seriously tipped as a possible candidate for the prestigious position of designer for Dior - an honour eventually won by fellow Briton John Galliano.

The Spice Girls, whose singles "Wannabe", "Say You'll Be There", and "2 Become 1", have been number one in 30 countries and sold 7 million copies in all, recently grabbed the headlines when - in an interview in the Spectator magazine - they described Baroness Thatcher as their spiritual predecessor. The women, aged 18 to 24, also dismissed John Major as a "boring pillock" - although they declared that they would never vote Labour.

Last night, the band were on holiday but a spokesman for their promoters, Virgin Records, was waspish. "We do not feel it necessary to get dragged into an argument with a foolish old woman about the greatest new musical talent in the world today."