A tiny figure, she is bundled in an oversized bright-orange kimono-shape duvet jacket, voluminous harem pants and sensible shoes.
It’s a sartorial style that reflects the anti-fashion ethos of a designer who once said of her work: ‘My aim is to make the poor look rich and the rich look poor.’First thing she needs desperately is a cup of hot tea, which her press officer Laura quickly makes in a mug. She might be a grand old dame but the 71-year-old, who, with her then husband Malcolm Mc Laren, shaped the subversive image of the punk generation in the Seventies, continues to rail against the world.
It would be a great way to show her support for sustainability and saving the planet.’ Five years ago she read an interview by environmentalist James Lovelock – proponent of the Gaia theory of the Earth as a single organism – and came to the conclusion that human beings are ‘an endangered species’.
If Mc Laren was godfather of punk, flame-haired Westwood was its godmother; a self-taught clothes designer who pioneered the style of bondage gear, safety pins, razor blades, tartans and spiky collars.
But as she generously heaped praise on her ex, Westwood was also trying to make sense of the fact that – as he lay dying in a Swiss clinic – Mc Laren wrote a codicil, leaving his son nothing in his will.
She was ‘traumatised’ by Lovelock’s analysis that climate change would lead to billions of people dying by the end of the century and decided to do something about it.
She has written her own manifesto, Active Resistance To Propaganda, and has a blog to discuss ideas of excessive consumption.