LONDON — The life of Vivienne Westwood — designer, grande dame of punk, political and environmental activist, and all-round rebel — will be the subject of a book to be released in October 2014 by Picador.
Part personal memoir, part authorized biography, the tome will be written in collaboration with the British actor and award-winning writer Ian Kelly, whose past subjects have included colorful 18th- and early 19th-century figures as Beau Brummell, Antonin Carême, Giacomo Casanova, and the one-legged, comedic playwright Samuel Foote.
“The living deserve respect. The dead deserve the truth; Ian and I are working together on this, and I am excited that this will be my story, the story nobody ever did before,” Westwood said.
It was the Brummell biography that originally caught Westwood’s eye, according to Kelly. In turn, he said he has always seen her in Brummell’s “dandy tradition, as polemicist and fearless fashion leader.”
Kelly added that he is “keen to tell the truth about a huge-hearted, warm and witty individual, whose face and clothes are known the world over, but who is also recognizably the Derbyshire, [England] primary school teacher who met and fell in love with Malcolm McLaren and changed the world.”
Kelly’s acting credits include “Howards End,” “In Love and War” with Sandra Bullock, and the acclaimed 2002 Russian drama “Voyna.” He played Hermione’s father in the Harry Potter series, and has appeared in “Downton Abbey.” His latest film “Closed,” is due for release later this year.
“Biography is the perfect mélange of acting and writing. It’s that empathetic move into somebody else’s life,” he told W Magazine in 2006.
Westwood’s friends — who include Pamela Anderson, Prince Charles, Naomi Campbell, Jerry Hall, Bob Geldof and Julian Assange — have also contributed letters and stories to the book, according to Picador.