Book Review: Little People, Big Dreams: Vivienne Westwood, by Isabel Sánchez Vegara

A picture book of the life of fashion icon Vivienne Westwood, introducing children to another inspirational icon of popular culture.

Kids will relate to the extracts from Westwood’s life which are carefully selected and beautifully illustrated.

Isabel Sánchez Vegara has written another sterling book in this series. Her books introduce children to icons of popular culture and can also serve to inspire kids to pursue their dreams – whatever the rest of the world might think. Vegara brings her years of experience as a creative director in advertising to her collaborations with a range of illustrators, this time working with Laura Callaghan, an Irish artist whose pop-art style is well suited to the portrayal of Vivienne Westwood’s life.

The cover image is brilliant and sums up the well-known rebellious spirit of the designer. Portraying a young Vivienne, she stands with arms firmly crossed, a determined down turned mouth, and rolls her eyes at some (presumed) comment on her behaviour.

Westwood came from the English working class and always had an independent streak. She was initially only able to pursue her fashion dreams as a hobby working as a primary school teacher to make a living. Meeting with fellow iconoclast Malcolm McLaren – later manager of the Sex Pistols – provided her with an opportunity to realise her dreams by designing and making clothes for his London shop.

Her work with McLaren introduced the era of punk rock – both in music and clothing. Westwood’s extraordinary clothes and innovative designs were both loved and loathed by those in the fashion industry. She was soon recognised as a designer in her own right and has remained at the forefront of avant-garde fashion to this day. Again, her independence stood her in good stead as she designed and made to her own taste and not to what someone else decided was fashionable.

Kids will relate to the extracts from Westwood’s life which are carefully selected and beautifully illustrated. To find out more, there is further information, photos and a timeline at the end of the book.

Another great book in the Little People, Big Dreams series.

Reviewed by Jan Kershaw

Distributed by: Allen & Unwin
Released: March 2019
RRP: $19.99 hardcover

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