Vivienne Westwood, fashion designer and style icon, dies at 81

written by Nick Glass, CNN

British fashion designer and style icon Vivienne Westwood has died at the age of 81. She passed away peacefully on Thursday at her home in London, surrounded by her family, according to an official statement from her namesake company.

To the media, she was the “Punk Priestess” and the “Queen of Extreme.” To her fashion world, she was her beloved character, inspiring her industry and pushing her boundaries until her passing.

She rotated sans culottes for photographers after receiving an OBE from the Queen in 1992.

Frankly, Westwood didn’t care. As the oldest Ingenius with regularly orange-tinged hair and alabaster complexion, she has shamefully risen to the revered status of a British national treasure.

According to John Savage’s influential Dreaming of England: The Sex Pistols and Punk Rock, Westwood is reported to have said, “I have an innate perversion.”

She was born Vivian Isabelle Swire on April 8, 1941 in Derbyshire, England. Her mother worked as a weaver in a local cotton mill. Her father came from a family of shoemakers. She started making her clothes for herself as a teenager.

After studying at Harrow School of Art, she worked as an elementary school teacher and married factory worker Derek Westwood in 1962.

But that all changed when she separated from her husband and met Malcolm McLaren in 1965.

In 2004, she told Newsweek, “I felt like there were so many doors to open. He had the keys to all of them.

It is impossible to imagine 1970s Britain without their creative partnership. McLaren managed the Sex Pistols and Westwood helped develop his glamor visuals for the punk movement from their shop in Kings Road, London.

‘Sex Pistols’ managers Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood outside Bow Street Magistrate’s Court in London. credit: Bill Kennedy/Mirror Picks/Getty Images

The store’s name changed — Let It Rock; Too Young to Die, Too Fast to Live; Sex; Seditionary — but it didn’t escape its influence on the streets.

“People look different,” Westwood told Time magazine in 2012.

Her clothing ranged from fetish bondage gear to giant platform shoes to slogan tees. Security forces famously sold the Queen’s T-her shirt with a safety pin stuck in the royal lip.

Westwood eventually moved on. In 1981, at the age of 40, Westwood presented her first catwalk collection with McLaren. Gender Her neutral attire evoked a golden age of pirates, highwaymen, dandies and buccaneers. Westwood has studied old tailoring techniques and turned them upside down. This approach was later imitated by British designers such as John Galliano and Alexander his McQueen.

Over the past decade, Westwood has drawn inspiration from Keith Haring, “Blade Runner” and the French Foreign Legion.

She introduced a mini clini (a combination of a tutu and a Victorian crinoline), flesh-toned tights with understated fig leaves, and a signature corset worn as outerwear. She designed frocks for women with her bust and waist (just ask Nigella Lawson or Marion Cotillard, who made a dramatic impact wearing Westwood). She tried Harris Tweed and tartan.

John Fairchild, then the all-powerful editor of Women’s Wear Daily, bestowed his blessing in 1989. In his view, she is Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani, Christian Lacroix and Emmanuel Ungaro. Westwood was the only woman, the only British, and the only designer on his list not yet a multi-million dollar brand. (In 1989, according to Jane Mulvag’s 1998 biography of her, Vivienne Westwood: An Unfashionable Life, she was still living in a former parliamentary flat in South London, and she was “practically bankrupt.” rice field.)

Style writer Peter York summarizes her in a 1990 documentary: Do not develop them elsewhere. ”

Vivienne Westwood and her husband and fellow designer Andreas Kronthaler at Paris Fashion Week 2013.

Vivienne Westwood and her husband and fellow designer Andreas Kronthaler at Paris Fashion Week 2013. credit: Pascal Le Segretin/Getty Images

In 1992, Westwood married Andreas Kronthaler, an Austrian design student who is 25 years his junior. Kronthaler worked as a co-designer before taking over Vivian’s ready-to-wear line in 2016. Finally, she gave me a lot. Thank you, Darling.

On Thursday night, tributes began pouring in from around the world. Model Bella Hadid posted a photo of herself with the designer on Instagram, writing, “I will forever be grateful to have been on your track. To me, and to fashion and most of humanity, you Vivian. was the sun,” he wrote.British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful also paid tribute on his Instagram, describing the designer as “a true icon of British fashion and an irreplaceable force in the industry”. Boy George I have written “We salute the great and inspiring Vivienne Westwood for ushering us into punk and beyond,” he added, adding, “She is the undisputed queen of British fashion.”

Westwood was a passionate activist on issues ranging from climate to free speech. Westwood is an outspoken defender of the planet, often promoting quality over quantity when it comes to fashion consumption.Westwood showed off his Fall Winter 2019/2020 show at London Fashion Week as a model, actor and , sent activists down the runway with political signs.

She often participates in environmental demonstrations and in 2015 rode a tank to the home of then-British Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency to protest fracking. In June 2020, Westwood, dressed in yellow, hanged herself in a giant birdcage to protest the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange outside Britain’s Central Criminal Court. rice field.

The Vivian Foundation, a non-profit corporation founded by Westwood and her son and granddaughter in late 2022, will officially launch next year. Respect, protect and continue.”

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