Artisan heritage

Vivienne Westwood reveal a handcrafted fan celebrating Mayfair’s history
Art | 23 May 2024

Just down the road from Vivienne Westwood’s Conduit Street boutique stands the new Mandarin Oriental. Celebrating the history of their shared Mayfair neighbourhood – specifically the historic Hanover Square – Westwood has designed a unique handcrafted fan to illustrate the location’s rich history: the Square was laid out in the late 1710s and was named in honour of George I, the Elector of Hanover.

“The design of the fan sees two silhouettes meeting, dancing,” says Alex Krenn, Senior Designer, Vivienne Westwood. “Dramatic – well dressed – mysterious, perhaps friends meeting in the afternoon, perhaps glamorous lovers. The two figures are inspired by traditional paper cut-outs and Vivienne Westwood campaigns. The silhouettes are framed on a hand drawing of the square, turned on its head. Vivienne did this in the early years in her Worlds End shop with an image of Piccadilly Circus upside down.”

Handcrafted in the UK, the fan’s design brings together traditional artisanal skills and craft, led by Ian Block from The Worshipful Company of Fan Makers, founded in 1709, while the silk weaving for the fan leaf was created with The Gainsborough Silk Weaving Co Ltd, and hand woven in Suffolk. The wooden sticks that form the body were made from a London Plane tree that fell in a storm in St James’ Park. As part of the collaboration, a second fan will be auctioned to raise money for War Child, the only specialist charity for children affected by conflict. The auction is open now until 28th June.


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