her death announced by Her namesake fashion house didn’t give a reason.
In the 1970s, Westwood became a fashion mogul when he helped outfit punk rockers like the Sex Pistols with leather jackets, ripped shirts and safety pins. She later transitioned into couture with her designs, experimenting with flashy pirate shirts and petticoats, tweed her corsets, and pinstripe her tailoring, while creating costumes that have been exhibited in museums around the world.
Throughout her career, she has combined fashion and politics, using her fame to advance the fight against environmental issues, nuclear disarmament, vegetarianism and climate change. She embellished her shirts, jackets and dresses with her activist slogans, “Politicians R Criminals” and “We’re Not Disposable,” and launched a unisex line in 2017. She shares the same clothes, including a cloak and tutu.
“Unisex may sound like a joke, but it’s really all about styling and dressing the way you want,” she told The New York Times at that year’s London Fashion Week event. “Swapping clothes with your partner means you can buy less, choose better, and make it last longer.”
Westwood was first known for running a boutique on London’s King’s Road with Malcolm McLaren, who became the manager of the Sex Pistols. “I was a punk savior,” she later recalled.
She posed in an Aquascutum suit for the cover of Tatler magazine in 1989, which she said was for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Three years later, when Queen Elizabeth II awarded her an OBE, Ms Westwood (later named Dame Commander) shocked photographers by showing off her dress. No underwear.
“I have a natural twist,” she said in an interview for John Savage’s book The Dream of England.
Vivienne Isabel Swire was born on April 8, 1941 in Glossop, an English town east of Manchester. Her mother was a seamstress who made her own clothes, and she preferred standard cooking for her three children. Ms. Westwood said she dabbled in fashion when her mother allowed her to choose her own clothes. She chose a tight skirt and heels.
After briefly attending Harrow Art School, Ms. Westwood attended teacher training college and got a job as a school teacher. Her marriage to dancehall manager Derek Westwood ended in divorce, and in the mid-1960s she began a relationship with McLaren, with whom she worked as a designer.
Together, they riffed on 1950s ‘teddy boy’ fashion styles of slim ties and gel hair, while also embracing biker culture and sadomasochistic imagery. Under the slogan ‘Clothes for Heroes’, they designed leather and zipper dresses and ‘bondage’ shirts that wrap around the sleeves like a straitjacket. One of her T-shirts featured Queen Elizabeth II with a safety pin stuck in her lip.
Their shop repeated several names, including Too Young to Die and Too Fast to Live, but it was Sex that got the most public attention. The name was displayed in bulging pink letters above the door.
In 1981, they presented their first runway collection. It is his gender-neutral clothing that evokes images of pirates and his 19th-century fashion. The style became part of the post-punk new wave scene after being adopted by pop stars Adam Ant and Boy George.
Ms. Westwood soon dissolved her partnership with McLaren, creating designs such as the Mini Crini, a shortened version of the Victorian crinoline, and a lightweight corset designed to be worn outside of a costume, giving her a ’90 Underwear as outerwear was trending during the decade, and in recent decades she’s used her name in a growing series of retail partnerships, including tea sets, hats, jewelry and fragrances.
In 2011, he opened his first American boutique in Los Angeles.
Survivors include her husband of 30 years, Austrian designer Andreas Kronthaler. Son from her first marriage, erotic photographer Ben Westwood. McLaren’s son Joseph Colle co-founded lingerie brand agent His Provocateur. Additional details about the survivors were not immediately available.
Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, in Westwood’s wedding dress in the movie Sex and the City, in which Carrie Bradshaw opposed Vera Wang’s dress and opted for Westwood’s billowing silk and taffeta, 2008. Ms. Westwood was unimpressed with the rest of the clothing in the film, later stating:
When it came to her own image, she often chose relatively simple outfits to match her distinctive bright orange hair. It’s about putting it down and forgetting it.”