Having bonded over mutual political passions and been enchanted by one of Vivienne Westwood’s show manifestos, Pamela Anderson became quickly and intensely enmeshed in Westwood and Andreas Kronthaler’s inclusive world. Between campaigning with the duo and reguarly reaping their wisdom and philosophies, Anderson has become something of an ambassadress for the brand. Appearing in countless ad campaigns shot by Juergen Teller – often accompanied by the couple themselves and embodying their wildly playful approach – she has found herself inextricably linked with the designers’ outré approach to freedom and fashion. A 30-page portfolio in AnOther Magazine Autumn/Winter 2017 examines the impact of pioneers Westwood and Kronthaler, and would be incomplete without the voices of their key collaborators. This talk with Pamela Anderson is one of a series of discussions outlining the curious and colourful world of Westwood.
AnOther Magazine: Can you tell me a little about how you came to meet Vivienne?
Pamela Anderson: I first met Vivienne while we were campaigning for Leonard Peltier’s release when she asked me to sign a petition. Soon after, I was invited to a Vivienne Westwood fashion show – I read her manifesto (the literature that was on every seat) and I was more fascinated with that than the clothes. She spoke my language, referencing fairy tales and mythology. It is still one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I know. It ignited me or confirmed for me, that I was on the right track. It makes perfect sense and, I think between the two of us, perfect sense rarely applies: It is a mad, mad world.
AM: What was that first encounter like?
PA: She said to me, “I don’t have to draw you a map.” We related to each other because we used everything we are, and everything we had and have, to try and make a difference in the world. A lot is gut instinct as well as art, intelligence, culture… she also introduced me to Julian Assange — Julian and Vivienne are two of my greatest teachers.
AM: You’ve shot a few campaigns with Vivienne Westwood and Juergen Teller, can you tell me a little about the atmosphere on set?
PA: It’s always fun to spend time with friends on shoot photos. I love shooting with them because it’s like telling a story: Vivienne and Andreas are always conveying a message – maybe Vivienne more than Andreas, Andreas loves fashion and Vivienne is political and motivated by the end of the world. We need to do something. I know that’s what I’m thinking in the photos: utter despair, the apocalypse, love, hope, giving up?, frustration, anger, relief… HELP?
AM: What is it you’re trying to conjure then?
PA: I think it’s quite interesting to have these beautiful clothes on all different types of people: the models usually participate in some kind of interview. What is their story? Where are they from? What are their concerns for the planet? What can they do to make a difference? That sets the tone.
AM: Any favourite shoot memories or locations?
PA: I loved our last shoot on the Island of Hydra in Greece… with all its sentimental history; you can feel the artist energy there. But I also love our other very spontaneous shoots – when I’ve just happened to be in London, and they are shooting – the three of us dressing each other in a small space. I remember just the three of us in our underwear or less pulling on stockings, then Vivienne narrating the shoot: “We are warriors…” from a specific time etc.
AM: What do you have in common with Vivienne and Andreas?
PA: We care deeply about the world. We believe that engaging in the world is important, that artists are the freedom fighters of the world.
AM: Is her blend of fashion and revolution important to you?
PA: I think it’s very important, and a great billboard for important messages she is trying to convey. She reaches many this way.
AM: What is Vivienne’s impact on fashion?
PA: Her impact on fashion has been tremendous: she has such a unique vision, punk, it’s beautifully tragic. It is such a dichotomy, to have this couture brand, and the world falling apart at the same time.
AM: Why is it important?
PA: It is her voice, her vehicle. It is education, trying to free the world by educating it: we must switch to green energy, we must support whistleblowers, we must save the rainforest, Venice… and treat refugees with respect. We need to turn all the prisons vegan – food politics and poverty, it’s an endless battle. And it’s important to use our strengths to help. We are hanging by a thread at our own hand: we are all climate refugees and it’s not going to get better while people don’t want to understand what the governments are doing. As complex as it is, it is simple: we must learn. Intellectuals unite!
AM: Can you describe working with Vivienne and Andreas as a couple?
PA: They are so in love, it is beautiful. I know how proud Andreas is of Vivienne and she of him. It is sweet when I am with each one of them alone, they gush over the other. We should all be so lucky to find our soulmates, they are truly the perfect match.
AM: Does their personal relationship emerge?
PA: They are a normal couple full of passion and disagreements. They have separate interests and Vivienne is a force for culture, and Andreas too. They both know so much about so many different things: Andreas is very calming too and reminds us to still enjoy the world as messy as it is – it is beautiful. And we must live joyfully, you can see that in his collections as well: JOY. I love being around them, I take a lot of notes.
You must pay attention to her blog Climate Revolution and you can get a peek into their world: they travel, read, ride their bikes, they walk the talk and are constantly learning. They inspire me to do the same. What we must consume is art and literature, not things: fill our brains, not our closets, Vivienne and Andreas would agree. Buy one beautiful dress a year, don’t consume crap!
AM: What do you think they bring together in their collaboration?
PA: Well they are very different and very the same, it is magic. Andreas says if there are no tears it’s not good enough. They work very, very hard and live simply, they do not over indulge. It is unnecessary when you are passionately living. They balance each other – this is only my observation but I feel close enough to them that I can ramble on a bit – they will be one of the fascinating love stories that history will remember.
This interview was conducted for the Autumn/Winter 2017 issue of AnOther Magazine, on sale now.