Vivienne Westwood, an influential style maverick who performed a key position within the punk motion, died Thursday at 81.
Westwood’s eponymous style home introduced her demise on social media platforms, saying she died peacefully. A trigger was not disclosed.
“Vivienne continued to do the issues she liked, up till the final second, designing, engaged on her artwork, writing her e book, and altering the world for the higher,” the assertion mentioned.
Westwood’s style profession started within the Seventies when her radical method to city road fashion took the world by storm. However she went on to take pleasure in a protracted profession highlighted by a string of triumphant runway reveals and museum exhibitions.
The title Westwood turned synonymous with fashion and angle whilst she shifted focus from 12 months to 12 months, her vary huge and her work by no means predictable.
As her stature grew, she appeared to transcend style. The younger lady who had scorned the British institution ultimately turned one in every of its main lights, whilst she stored her hair dyed that trademark vivid shade of orange.
Andrew Bolton, curator of The Costume Institute on the Metropolitan Museum of New York, mentioned Westwood and Intercourse Pistols supervisor Malcolm McLaren — her onetime companions — “gave the punk motion a glance, a mode, and it was so radical it broke from something up to now.”
“The ripped shirts, the security pins, the provocative slogans,” Bolton mentioned. “She launched postmodernism. It was so influential from the mid-70s. The punk motion has by no means dissipated — it’s grow to be a part of our style vocabulary. It’s mainstream now.”
Westwood’s lengthy profession was filled with contradictions: She was a lifelong insurgent honored a number of instances by Queen Elizabeth II. She dressed like a youngster even in her 60s and have become an outspoken advocate of preventing local weather change, warning of planetary doom.
In her punk days, Westwood’s garments had been typically deliberately surprising: T-shirts adorned with drawings of bare boys and “bondage pants” with sadomasochistic overtones had been commonplace fare in her fashionable London retailers. However Westwood was in a position to transition from punk to high fashion with out lacking a beat, conserving her profession going with out stooping to self-caricature.
“She was all the time making an attempt to reinvent style. Her work is provocative, it’s transgressive. It’s very a lot rooted within the English custom of pastiche and irony and satire. She could be very happy with her Englishness, and nonetheless she sends it up,” Bolton mentioned.
A kind of contentious designs featured a swastika, an inverted picture of Jesus Christ on the cross and the phrase “Destroy.” In an autobiography written with Ian Kelly, she mentioned it was meant as a part of an announcement towards politicians torturing folks, citing Chile’s Augusto Pinochet. When requested if she regretted the swastika in a 2009 interview with Time journal, Westwood mentioned no.
“I don’t, as a result of we had been simply saying to the older technology, ‘We don’t settle for your values or your taboos, and also you’re all fascists,’” she responded.
She approached her work with gusto in her early years, however later appeared to tire of the clamor and buzz. After many years of designing, she generally spoke wistfully of shifting past style so she might think about environmental issues and academic tasks.
“Style might be so boring,” she informed The Related Press after unveiling one in every of her new collections at a 2010 present. “I’m looking for one thing else to do.”
Her runway reveals had been all the time essentially the most stylish occasions, drawing stars from the glittery world of movie, music, and tv who needed to indulge in Westwood’s mirrored glory. However nonetheless she spoke out towards consumerism and conspicuous consumption, even urging folks to not purchase her costly, fantastically made garments.
“I simply inform folks, cease shopping for garments,” she mentioned. “Why not defend this reward of life whereas we’ve got it? I don’t take the angle that destruction is inevitable. A few of us want to cease that and assist folks survive.”
Westwood’s activism prolonged to supporting Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, posing in a large birdcage in 2020 to attempt to halt his extradition to the U.S. She even designed the costume Stella Moris wore when she married Assange this previous March at a London jail.
Westwood was self-taught, with no formal style coaching. She informed Marie Claire journal that she discovered the way to make her personal garments as a youngster by following patterns. When she needed to promote Nineteen Fifties-style garments at her first store, she discovered previous garments in markets and took them aside to know the minimize and development.
Westwood was born within the Derbyshire village of Glossop on April 8, 1941. Her household moved to London in 1957 and he or she attended artwork college for one time period.
She met McLaren within the Nineteen Sixties whereas working as a main college instructor after separating from her first husband, Derek Westwood. She and McLaren opened a small store in Chelsea in 1971, the tail finish of the “Swinging London” period ushered in by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
The store modified its title and focus a number of instances, working as “SEX” — Westwood and McLaren had been fined in 1975 for an “indecent exhibition” there — and “World’s Finish” and “Seditionaries.”
Among the many staff at their store was Intercourse Pistols bassist Glen Matlock, who known as Westwood “a one off, pushed, single minded, gifted woman” in an announcement to The Related Press.
He mentioned it was a privilege “to have rubbed shoulders along with her within the mid ‘70s at what was the delivery of punk and the worldwide waves it created that also proceed to echo and resound at present for the disaffected, hipper and wised up across the globe.”
“Vivienne is gone and the world is already a much less attention-grabbing place,” tweeted Chrissie Hynde, the frontwoman of the Pretenders and one other former worker.
Westwood moved right into a contemporary kind of designing along with her “Pirates” assortment, exhibited in her first catwalk present in 1981. That breakthrough is credited with taking Westwood in a extra conventional path, exhibiting her curiosity in incorporating historic British designs into up to date garments.
It was additionally an necessary step in an ongoing rapprochement between Westwood and the style world. The insurgent ultimately turned one in every of its most celebrated stars, recognized for reinterpreting opulent clothes from the previous and sometimes discovering inspiration in 18th century work.
However she nonetheless discovered methods to shock: Her Statue of Liberty corset in 1987 is remembered as the beginning of “underwear as outerwear” development.
She ultimately branched out into a spread of enterprise actions, together with an alliance with Italian designer Giorgio Armani, and developed her ready-to-wear Purple Label line, her extra unique Gold Label line, a menswear assortment and fragrances known as Boudoir and Libertine. Westwood retailers opened in New York, Hong Kong, Milan and several other different main cities.
She was named designer of the 12 months by the British Style Council in 1990 and 1991.
Her uneasy relationship with the British institution is maybe finest exemplified by her 1992 journey to Buckingham Palace to obtain an Order of the British Empire medal: She wore no underwear, and posed for photographers in a approach that made that abundantly clear.
Apparently the queen was not offended: Westwood was invited again to obtain the much more auspicious designation of Dame Commander of the British Empire — the feminine equal of a knighthood — in 2006.
Westwood is survived by her second husband, the Austrian-born designer Andreas Kronthaler who had a style line beneath her model, and two sons.
The primary, style photographer Ben Westwood, was her son with Derek Westwood. The second, Joe Corre — her son with McLaren — co-founded the upscale Agent Provocateur lingerie line and as soon as burned what he mentioned was a set of punk memorabilia value hundreds of thousands: “Punk was by no means, by no means meant to be nostalgic,” he mentioned.