Vivienne Westwood Talks Vanity and Posing for Nude Photos in Interview Magazine

Photo courtesy of Interview

Vivienne Westwood for Interview.

Dame Viv is in the house!

For the August issue of Interview, style writer Tim Blanks sits down with Vivienne Westwood for an engaging chat about her fight against climate change, designing clothes alongside husband Andreas Kronthaler (who, incidentally, calls her "the queen of awkwardness"), and why she agreed to pose nude for photographer Juergen Teller when she was in her late 60s.

"I would never have dreamt of it," Westwood, now 71, says of the portraits. "But I just have to trust him and let him do what he wants because I believe in him. If he says, 'I want to take a picture of you nude,' I don’t think, 'Well, I don’t really want a picture of myself nude and what’s all this about?' I just think, 'Okay, good, yeah, okay, sure you can.'

"Juergen just said, 'Go on, sit on the sofa.' I must have sat on the sofa to get undressed and he must have thought it was okay. But the one thing I did was something with my hair. You know, a nude is never naked. You’ve always got a beautiful hairstyle, a beauty mark, or a ring, or whatever it is. You’ve always got to be 'dressed' in some way. I said, 'I want to do my hair.'"

And while the designer admits she doesn't wear her hair down because it "looks silly on a woman of my age to have long hair," she claims that she's not really the vain type.

"I’m not competitive with other women at all," she tells Blanks. "Maybe you are when you’re younger, but if I go into a room and see Pamela Anderson looking incredible, I’m going to be delighted, and I don’t have to be the center of attraction. I often am because I’m the kind of person that goes for it, but I’m ever so happy if somebody else is, or that they’ve done something marvelous.

"I’ll tell you one thing—maybe you can call this vain or not—but I look in the mirror in the morning, I put my makeup on, and I think about how old I’m getting, and then I forget about it and that’s that. I’m just quite happy and satisfied with myself. Actually, I think I look my best. And then I don’t even think about putting makeup on for the rest of the day. There’s a girl here who wears lipstick a lot, and if the telephone rings and it’s her boyfriend, she puts her lipstick on as she’s talking. I think that’s brilliant. And Jerry Hall sprayed herself with perfume to go on the catwalk. I mean, it’s not a fame thing. As a young person, I thought I was quite good-looking at a certain point. I had rather stick-out teeth and things like that, but I thought, 'When I grow up a bit, I’ll be quite nice-looking. And I can make myself look really good.' So I always used to do my own hair, and take time with everything."

For what it's worth, we think Westwood—posing for Craig McDean in a Mickey Mouse top—looks fab. Don't you?