Human Interest

Designer, activist, punk pioneer Vivienne Westwood dies at 81

London, Dec 30 (EFE).- Tributes poured in for overnight for British fashion designer and activist Vivienne Westwood, who died Thursday at the age of 81.

The punk pioneer passed away peacefully surrounded by family in Clapham, London, her fashion house tweeted Thursday night. It did not give a cause of death.

“The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better,” it added.

Her husband and creative partner Andreas Kronthaler said: “I will continue with Vivienne in my heart. We have been working until the end and she has given me plenty of things to get on with. Thank you darling.”

Born Vivienne Isabel Swire in Cheshire, England, in 1941, she met band manager Malcolm McLaren in the 1960s while she was a school teacher and after separating from her husband Derek Westwood.

The couple opened a boutique on King’s Road in Chelsea in 1971, which became a meeting place for members of the capital’s fledgling punk bands, who she outfitted, including the Sex Pistols, which McLaren managed.

In 1981 she had her first runway show, named Pirates.

Westwood shot to fame for her provocative and sometimes controversial designs, defining the punk aesthetic by blending political, monarchical and historical references, classic tailoring, hard edges and romantic twists, and went on to dress some of the world’s biggest stars.

She was granted an Order of the British Empire medal in 1992, in 2006 she was made a Dame for her services to fashion, and was awarded British Designer of the Year on three occasions.

Westwood was also a staunch activist, supporting civil rights groups and nuclear disarmament, and denouncing the sale of fur, climate change and consumerism. She was also vocal supporter of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange.

Tributes poured in for the designer into Friday, including from Pretenders singer and friend from the boutique days, Chrissie Hynde, who said: “Vivienne is gone and the world is already a less interesting place. Love you Viv.”

Model and collaborator Karen Nelson wrote on Instagram: “She tore apart notions of femininity, sex, and was one of the first to demand that fashion do better in regards to the climate and without a doubt was one of the most effortlessly original people I’ve ever met. Fashion, art, culture will mourn this loss of a gargantuan woman who shaped how we wear and what we wore.”

Designer Marc Jacobs wrote: “You did it first. always. incredible style with brilliant and meaningful substance.”

“I will always remember the night we bonded over our mutual love for Yves Saint Laurent. You never failed to surprise and to shock. I am grateful for the moments I got to share with you and Andreas.”

Culture Club singer Boy George wrote: “R.I.P to the great and inspiring Vivienne Westwood who lead us through punk and beyond. Laughed at by the fashion industry but without question she is the undisputed Queen of British fashion. I love you! Oh bondage up yours!”

Rough Trade records tweeted: “Vivienne Westwood. Mother of Punk. Non conformist. Original icon. RIP.”

She is survived by husband and former student Kronthaler, and her two children, fashion photographer Ben Westwood, her son with Derek Westwood, and her son with McLaren, Joe Corré, co-founder of Agent Provocateur. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button