The fashion designer and husband of Vivienne Westwood shares the rite of passage represented by the rediscovery of his most treasured family heirloom
“When I was little, maybe six years old, my father went to Mexico on holiday. He must have gone panning for gold, because he brought me back this little golden nugget and, as he was a blacksmith, he drilled a hole in the top so that I could wear it as a necklace.
I kept it on for a few years before I completely forgot about it. Then, last Christmas, I had to empty out my childhood home and found it in my bedroom. I started wearing it again because it reminds me of him. I grew up very independent; I left home when I was 14 and didn’t really care about my parents, particularly him – what he thought, or who he was. But now, I think I understand him; understand the freedom that he gave me, and how much he loved what he did. I think I’ve only come to understand that through his death. It makes you grow up, when you lose your parents. It makes you a man.”
Andreas Kronthaler grew up in Austria’s Tyrolean valleys, sourcing clothes from his mother’s attic to stage amateur fashion shows on Saturday afternoons. Aged 14, he left his provincial childhood behind to embark on his five-year training as a goldsmith in Graz, before fi nally enrolling at the Vienna School of Applied Arts – which is where he met Vivienne Westwood. As soon as she arrived to teach in his fi rst year, dressed in Argyle leggings and a mini kilt, he was lovestruck – and subsequently moved to London to work for her eponymous label. That was in 1989 and the rest, as he says, is history.
This article appears in the A/W16 issue of AnOther Magazine.