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Top of the Shops – Vivienne Westwood World’s End

Almost the antithesis of Punk at the moment thanks to E4 and a bunch of possibly the squarest reality stars ever, Chelsea is not the first area that springs to mind when you think of the relentless attitude and personality of Vivienne Westwood. However, like a beacon of wonky-clocked hope amid a sea of tooth-achingly good taste stores, Westwood’s World’s End boutique is a time capsule of culture – as much a tourist attraction as it is a shopping destination, and still bucking the high street trend.

Stocking the Gold, Red, Man and Anglomania labels from Westwood’s prolific career, reworked tweed and tartan spill out of nipped in waists and other now instantly recognisable traits of Westwood’s work. However it wasn’t always so – during her rise to fame the site at World’s End went through many different names and guises reflecting the journey towards the Westwood aesthetic as we know it.

Unquestionably, it’s this history that makes the store magnetic. You can buy Westwood in any number of high-end boutiques (including Westwood stand-alones) but what keeps people coming back to World’s End is the many layers of culture and intrigue. When you’re browsing in the very same shop that the Sex Pistols first purchased their oversized safety pins (probably), you can’t help but feel a little bit like you suddenly get the whole Punk thing.

This isn’t a lifestyle or shopping concept, but a representation of a designer’s evolution over many years that manages to be timeless and avant-garde simultaneously. The epicentre of a British fashion institution, it is rare that a brand has such clear and tangible representation – Coco Chanel’s flat in Paris is perhaps an equivalent.

-Carys Kirkpatrick

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