Titus Upputuru
Jun 19, 2013

Cannes 2013: Learnings - Titus Upputuru: 'Blast from the present'

Social commentator and enduring queen of British fashion Dame Vivienne Westwood, left the author aching for more

Cannes 2013: Learnings - Titus Upputuru: 'Blast from the present'

For the first time in three days, the world creative audience gave a standing ovation until their palms started hurting. They didn't stop at that. They continued to applaud.

Guess who the recipient of the applause was.

The maverick designer, social commentator and iconic brand, who 'was young in the 50's (as she informed us), the inimitable and enduring queen of British fashion, Dame Vivienne Westwood.

A name synonymous with many of the most pivotal moments in British fashion, music and political history for the past 40 years. (For a festival that was celebrating it's 60th birthday, it was only fair to have gotten someone as iconic.)

And unlike a few of the other speakers who tried to promote themselves or their companies, she spoke of some disturbing things that the audience was not prepared for.

Not even the one who she was in conversation with - SapientNitro's Worldwide CCO.

She spoke of the government and how it suppresses everyone. She spoke of politics and how it manipulates. Of a subject close to her heart these days - climate control. She spoke of how the military and the business guys bed together so that the poor become poorer and the rich become richer by robbing the poor.

She spoke of all this with vulnerability and a quivering, almost shaky voice.

About the only thing she spoke of in fashion was (not the next line of clothing or the next label that she is launching or how many billion views her collection received on You Tube) the reason she got into the fashion business: to help her (then) boyfriend.

While the audience wanted more, somehow it seemed like she was being shut up. She kept asking if she could be allowed to say what she wanted to say.

If she could talk about her world view.

I wish she had had more time. Or if I could share the dinner table with her tonight.

She left the audience with a gem. The world wants us to be at our ordinary best because the world does not want change. She seemed to believe, with the innocence of a child, that if we all really were our best selves, then an issue like climate change would not even arise.

Dressed like she always is, in bits of expensive rags, she spoke of the line on her T-shirt: 'Get a life'. How she was trying to pursue the world, us, to change with creativity.

Call me impressionable if you will, but I was blown.  By her honesty, passion and will.

Don't know how old she really was, but I think in her mind she is still the 'punk' that rocked all of the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, and continues to rock the 2010's.

She pleaded the audience to do every little thing with their creativity to make the world a better place. She said it didn't matter how small it was, because in the end, everything is connected. And the small things will affect the big.

Now let me go look for her.

Titus Upputuru is NCD at Dentsu Marcom. The views expressed are the author's independent views as an ad professional and do not reflect the organisation's viewpoint.

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