Vivienne Westwood, ‘queen of punk’ fashion, dies at 81 | Obituaries News

Radical, influential and often controversial fashion designer turned outspoken activist Vivienne Westwood has died. She was 81 years old.

Westwood’s death announced at her namesake fashion house on Friday. The company said the British fashion icon died “in peace surrounded by her family” in south London.

“Until the last moment, Vivienne continued to do what she loves: designing, creating art, writing books and changing the world for the better,” the fashion brand said in a statement.

“She’s had an amazing life. Her innovation and influence over the last 60 years has been immense and will continue.”

Westwood began his fashion career in the 1970s, at the intersection of the birth of punk and the twilight of the “Swinging London” era. She was known worldwide for her extravagant fashion shows and for bringing her punk aesthetic into the mainstream.

“Ripped shirts, safety pins, provocative slogans,” said Andrew Bolton, curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute in New York.

“She introduced postmodernism. It’s been a big influence since the mid-’70s. The punk movement hasn’t gone away, it’s become part of fashion’s vocabulary.”

A trend-setter for the rest of his life, sometimes transcending the fashion industry itself, Westwood turned punk into haute couture.

“She was always trying to reinvent fashion,” Bolton added. She is very proud of her English skills and still speaks them.”

Westwood was born in the village of Glossop, Derbyshire on April 8, 1941, The Associated Press reported. He moved with his family to London in 1957, where he studied for one semester at an art school. Westwood was largely self-taught and had no training in fashion.

In the 1960s, Westwood met Sex Pistols manager and former partner Malcolm McLaren. The pair “gave the punk look and style to his movement. It was very radical and a departure from everything from the past,” Bolton said.

They opened a small store in Chelsea in 1971. Once called ‘SEX’, the store was fined in 1975 for allegedly ‘obscene displays’.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Sex Pistols bassist Glenn Matlock, who once worked at Westwood and McLaren’s Chelsea shop, described the late fashion designer as “a one-off, ambitious, dedicated and talented. A woman,” he said.

During the punk movement, Westwood’s fashion line became famous for its unique and shocking value, incorporating nudity and provocative sexual themes. She endured a fair amount of criticism for her pioneering style. In particular, her one of Westwood’s most notorious designs is her upside-down caricature of Christ crucified with a swastika, depicting the word “destroyed.”

Westwood later revealed in his autobiography, co-written with Ian Kelly, that the clothing designs were intended to be a political statement against the dangers of fascism. He said the design was a response to the brutal dictatorship of Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet.

Westwood told Time magazine in 2009 that he did not regret his controversial work.

“I don’t because we just told the older generation, ‘We don’t accept your values ​​and taboos. You’re all fascists,'” Westwood said.

Westwood later became known for her fresh take on the gorgeous dresses of the past. She was inspired by 18th century paintings.

However, later in her career, Westwood expressed ambivalent feelings about the fashion industry.

“Fashion is so boring,” she told the Associated Press at a fashion show in 2010. “I’m trying to find other things to do.”

And so she did, eventually emerging as an ardent advocate for the environment and free speech. Westwood also posed publicly in an oversized birdcage to draw attention to the accusers’ case. designed a dress.

Vivienne Westwood wears a self-made Julian Assange mask surrounded by banners during a protest outside her home office in London, UK, 5 November 2019. [Ollie Millington/Getty Images] (Getty Images)

Animal rights group PETA described Westwood as an “eco-warrior” and said the misfit designer dared the fashion world to “revolutionize for animals and the planet.”

Several fashion giants, celebrities and musicians took to social media to express their condolences after news of the 81-year-old’s death broke.

“Vivienne is gone and the world is already boring,” Chrissie Hynde, singer of British rock group The Pretenders, wrote on Twitter. “I love you Viv”

Westwood is survived by her second husband, Austrian designer Andreas Kronthaler, and two sons: fashion photographer Ben Westwood and businessman and activist Joe Kore.

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