British fashion designer and style icon Vivienne Westwood has died.
Westwood passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, at her home in London on Thursday.
To the media, she was “the high priestess of punk”, but to the fashion world she was a beloved character who energized and pushed the boundaries of the industry until her death.
As the oldest of ingénues with periodically orange-tinted hair and alabaster complexion, she rose disgracefully to the revered status of British National Treasure.
Westwood’s reported to have said,
I have an in-built perversity… a kind of in-built clock which always reacts against anything orthodox.”
According to CNN,
She was born Vivienne Isabel Swire in Derbyshire, England on April 8, 1941. Her mother worked as a weaver at local cotton mills; her father came from a family of shoemakers. She began making clothes for herself as a teenager.
After a term at Harrow Art School, she worked as a primary school teacher, and married a factory worker, Derek Westwood, in 1962.
But everything changed when she left her husband, and met Malcolm McLaren in 1965.
She told Newsweek in 2004,
I felt as if there were so many doors to open, and he had the key to all of them.”
It’s impossible to imagine 1970s Britain without their creative partnership. McLaren managed the Sex Pistols and from a shop on London’s King’s Road, Westwood helped develop a visual grammar for the punk movement.
Westwood was an outspoken advocate for the planet, often promoting quality over quantity when it came to fashion consumption. For her Fall-Winter 2019/20 show at London Fashion Week, Westwood sent models, actors, and activists down the runway with political signs — one of which read
What’s good for the planet is good for the economy.”
The Vivienne Foundation, a not-for-profit company, founded by Westwood, her sons & granddaughter in late 2022, will officially launch next year. According to her spokespeople it will
honor, protect and continue the legacy of Vivienne’s life, design and activism.”
Vivienne Westwood was 81.
29th December 2022.— Vivienne Westwood (@FollowWestwood) December 29, 2022
Vivienne Westwood died today, peacefully and surrounded by her family, in Clapham, South London.
The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better. pic.twitter.com/YQwVixYUrV