Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' to have a relationship with Malcolm McLaren: 'I thought that maybe he’d got the wrong idea and it was my fault'

The designer says that she felt pressured into going out with the Sex Pistols manager

Ella Alexander
Monday 22 September 2014 02:47
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life

Their relationship is thought to be one of the catalysts and driving forces behind the punk movement, but Vivienne Westwood says she wasn’t keen on ever being romantically involved with Malcolm McLaren.

"Malcolm chased me," she writes in extracts from her eponymous memoir, released to the Sunday Times. "I didn’t want him for my boyfriend. He didn’t look after himself. And I started trying to cook for him a bit and stuff like that. And, well, that’s how it started. He wasn’t well one time and he didn’t have a bed.

"So I made him sleep in my bed in the daytime to get over a fever, and he stayed in there for days and then he wouldn’t get out. And that was how we ended up having sex."

Then Westwood fell pregnant with his child, her second son Joe Corre – a social activist who co-founded luxury lingerie brand Agent Provocateur.

"The point is, I didn’t want Malcolm at first, but I did, in fact, end up getting pregnant by him," she writes. "Even then, I didn’t really want him."

She suggests that it wasn’t being pregnant that eventually cemented their relationship, rather that she worried she’d given him the wrong idea by being nice to him so started dating him anyway.

Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood in 1981

"I felt, you see, that somehow I’d been so kind to him that maybe he’d got the wrong idea, and it was my fault, and that I’d led him on without knowing," she said.

"So I had to get involved with him. And then there was this other guy — nothing serious, just someone else I was set to go out with. And Malcolm called me a whore. And that’s when I realised he was obsessed."

Westwood also had another child from her previous marriage to Derek Westwood, a son, fashion designer Ben Westwood.

She claims that she was "not a good mother".

"I neglected my children because I had to do certain things, which meant that I couldn’t be there for them — in order to do ‘fashion’, because, at that time, I thought fashion was a kind of crusade," she said.

"At the time of punk, it felt like it was. We needed to show the world that we were serious. Now, as a mother and a grandmother, I regret that. I got the balance wrong. But I was doing the best I could, as I saw it, at the time."

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