Vivienne Westwood, Britain’s provocative dame of fashion, dead at 81, Lifestyle News

LONDON — As the one who dressed the Sex Pistols, Vivienne Westwood, who died on Thursday (Dec 29) at the age of 81, was synonymous with Seventies punk rock, a rebelliousness that remained the hallmark of an unapologetically political designer who turned one of British style’s largest names.

“Vivienne Westwood died at this time, peacefully and surrounded by her household, in Clapham, South London. The world wants individuals like Vivienne to make a change for the higher,” her style home mentioned on Twitter.

Climate change, air pollution, and her assist for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have been all fodder for protest T-shirts or banners carried by her fashions on the runway.

She dressed up as then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher for {a magazine} cowl in 1989 and drove a white tank close to the nation residence of a later British chief, David Cameron, to protest towards fracking.

The insurgent was inducted into Britain’s institution in 1992 by Queen Elizabeth who awarded her the Order of the British Empire medal. But, ever eager to shock, Westwood turned up at Buckingham Palace with out underwear — a reality she proved to photographers by a revealing twirl of her skirt.

“The solely purpose I’m in style is to destroy the phrase ‘conformity’,” Westwood mentioned in her 2014 biography. “Nothing is attention-grabbing to me except it is obtained that factor.”

Instantly recognisable along with her orange or white hair, Westwood first made a reputation for herself in punk style in Seventies London, dressing the punk rock band that outlined the style.

Together with the Sex Pistols’ supervisor, Malcolm McLaren, she defied the hippie traits of the time to promote rock’n’roll-inspired clothes.

They moved on to torn outfits adorned with chains in addition to latex and fetish items that they offered at their store in London’s King’s Road variously known as Let It Rock, Sex and Seditionaries, amongst different names.

They used prints of swastikas, bare breasts and, maybe most well-known, a picture of the queen with a security pin via her lips. Favourite objects included sleeveless black T-shirts, studded, with zips, security pins or bleached rooster bones.

“There was no punk earlier than me and Malcolm,” Westwood mentioned within the biography. “And the opposite factor it is best to learn about punk too: it was a complete blast.”

‘Buy much less’

Born Vivienne Isabel Swire on April 8, 1941 within the English Midlands city of Glossop, Westwood grew up at a time of rationing throughout and after World War Two.


A recycling mentality pervaded her work, and she or he repeatedly instructed fashionistas to “select nicely” and “purchase much less”. From the late Nineteen Sixties, she lived in a small flat in south London for some 30 years and cycled to work.

When she was a teen, her dad and mom, a greengrocer and a cotton weaver, moved the household to north London the place she studied jewellery-making and silversmithing earlier than re-training as a instructor.

While she taught at a main college, she met her first husband, Derek Westwood, marrying him in a selfmade gown. Their son Ben was born in 1963, and the couple divorced in 1966.

Now a single mom, Westwood was promoting jewelry on London’s Portobello Road when she met artwork scholar McLaren who would go on to be her accomplice romantically and professionally. They had a son, Joe Corre, co-founder of lingerie model Agent Provocateur.

After the Sex Pistols break up, the 2 held their first catwalk present in 1981, presenting a “new romantic” look of African-style patterns, buccaneer trousers and sashes.

Westwood, by then in her forties, started to slowly forge her personal path in style, ultimately separating from McLaren within the early Eighties.


Often seeking to historical past, her influential designs have included corsets, Harris Tweed fits and taffeta ballgowns.

Her 1985 Mini-Crini line launched her brief puffed skirt and a extra fitted silhouette. Her sky-high platform sneakers garnered worldwide consideration in 1993 when mannequin Naomi Campbell chanced on the catwalk in a pair.

“My garments have a narrative. They have an identification. They have character and a objective,” Westwood mentioned.

“That’s why they turn out to be classics. Because they carry on telling a narrative. They are nonetheless telling it.”

The Westwood model flourished within the Nineteen Nineties, with fashionistas flocking to her runway exhibits in Paris, and shops opening all over the world promoting her traces, equipment and perfumes.

She met her second husband, Andreas Kronthaler, instructing style in Vienna. They married in 1993 and he later turned her artistic accomplice.

Westwood used her public profile to champion points together with nuclear disarmament and to protest towards anti-terrorism legal guidelines and authorities spending insurance policies that hit the poor. She held a big “local weather revolution” banner at the 2012 Paralympics closing ceremony in London, and continuously turned her fashions into catwalk eco-warriors.

“I’ve all the time had a political agenda,” Westwood instructed L’Officiel style journal in 2018.

“I’ve used style to problem the established order.”

ALSO READ: Dua Lipa, Hailey Bieber, Harry Styles – why pearls are going loopy on TikTok

Recommended For You