Witches thumbnail 1
Witches thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Witches

Raincoat and Belt
1983-1984 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

The Witches collection of autumn/winter 1983 was Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s final collaboration. It came following a trip to America to meet Keith Haring, whose fluorescent, graffiti-inspired designs would feature on a number of the pieces. The collection was influenced by Haring’s ‘magical, esoteric sign language’ (which also inspired its eerie name) and early-1980s American hip-hop culture. McLaren at the time was greatly interested by hip-hop; Witches followed only months after the release of his solo album Duck Rock (which featured artwork by Haring), a milestone in the popularisation of hip-hop in the UK. Witches was shown on the catwalk accompanied by strobe lighting, to give a dislocating, freeze-frame effect to the models, and a soundtrack of rap music.

The trenchcoat is one of the ‘classic’ styles of the 20th century, born as a practical, waterproof garment for officers in the First World War. This exaggeratedly-cut unisex ‘mac’ is simply constructed from rectangles of waterproofed cotton. It showcases both Westwood’s cutting skills and her interest in ‘classic’ and historical menswear, something first explored in the Pirates collection of 1980. Many of Westwood and McLaren’s collections featured outsized clothing at a time when a fitted, masculine silhouette was mostly favoured.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Raincoat
  • Belt
Materials and techniques
Cotton with waterproofing
Brief description
Cotton raincoat and belt 'Witches', designed by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, Great Britain, 1983-84
Physical description
Large cream cotton raincoat and belt, with waterproofing. Exaggeratedly outsize cut.

Production typeLimited edition
Marks and inscriptions
'MCLAREN / WORLDS END / WESTWOOD'
Credit line
Given by David Barber, in memory of Rupert Michael Dolan
Object history
Purchased by Rupert Michael Dolan in March 1984 at a sale at Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren's outlet store, Nostalgia of Mud, located at Christopher Place in the West End of London. It was given to the V&A in 1991 (Registered File number 1991/2009).

Production
Autumn / winter collection 1983 - 1984
Summary
The Witches collection of autumn/winter 1983 was Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s final collaboration. It came following a trip to America to meet Keith Haring, whose fluorescent, graffiti-inspired designs would feature on a number of the pieces. The collection was influenced by Haring’s ‘magical, esoteric sign language’ (which also inspired its eerie name) and early-1980s American hip-hop culture. McLaren at the time was greatly interested by hip-hop; Witches followed only months after the release of his solo album Duck Rock (which featured artwork by Haring), a milestone in the popularisation of hip-hop in the UK. Witches was shown on the catwalk accompanied by strobe lighting, to give a dislocating, freeze-frame effect to the models, and a soundtrack of rap music.



The trenchcoat is one of the ‘classic’ styles of the 20th century, born as a practical, waterproof garment for officers in the First World War. This exaggeratedly-cut unisex ‘mac’ is simply constructed from rectangles of waterproofed cotton. It showcases both Westwood’s cutting skills and her interest in ‘classic’ and historical menswear, something first explored in the Pirates collection of 1980. Many of Westwood and McLaren’s collections featured outsized clothing at a time when a fitted, masculine silhouette was mostly favoured.

Collection
Accession number
T.268:1, 2-1991

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Record createdJune 14, 2007
Record URL
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