December 1, 2023


Unique & Classy

Vivienne Westwood, fashion designer and punk style legend, dead at 81

6 min read

Vivienne Westwood, an influential style maverick who played a crucial role in the punk movement, died on Thursday at 81.

Westwood’s eponymous style property introduced her death on social media platforms, declaring she died peacefully. A result in of demise was not disclosed.

Westwood’s manner vocation started in the 1970s with the punk explosion, when her radical method to urban road style took the globe by storm. But she went on to get pleasure from a extended career highlighted by a string of triumphant runway reveals in London, Paris, Milan and New York.

The name Westwood became synonymous with model and perspective even as she shifted emphasis from calendar year to calendar year. Her vary was huge and her function was never ever predictable.

As her stature grew, she seemed to transcend style, with her designs demonstrated in museum collections in the course of the entire world.

The young girl who experienced scorned the British institution sooner or later became a single of its foremost lights, and she made use of her elite placement to foyer for environmental reforms even as she stored her hair dyed the dazzling shade of orange that became her trademark.

Westwood, proven in 2007, was regarded for decades for her bright orange shock of hair. (Benoit Tessier/Reuters)

Job of contradictions

Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, reported Westwood would be celebrated for groundbreaking the punk look, pairing a radical manner strategy with the anarchic punk seems produced by the Intercourse Pistols, who were managed by her then-lover, Malcolm McLaren.

“They gave the punk movement a search, a type, and it was so radical it broke from just about anything in the previous,” Bolton said.

“The ripped shirts, the basic safety pins, the provocative slogans. She introduced postmodernism. It was so influential from the mid-’70s. The punk movement has hardly ever dissipated — it can be turn out to be part of our trend vocabulary. It is really mainstream now.”

A model wearing a camoglage style jacket
Design Grace Bol wears an outfit developed by Westwood at London Style 7 days on Feb. 22, 2015. (Alastair Grant/The Connected Push)

Westwood’s lengthy occupation was full of contradictions: She was a lifelong rebel who was honoured various times by the Queen. She dressed like a teenager even in her 60s and grew to become an outspoken advocate of battling global warming, warning of planetary doom if local climate transform was not controlled.

She was also a vocal supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

A woman wearing a yellow and black striped shirt stands in the centre of a group of protesters holding banners and signs, with her arms up.
Westwood, centre, poses for pictures all through a protest to aid WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange exterior the Previous Bailey, the central legal court in London, on Sept. 7, 2020. (Frank Augstein/The Connected Press)

In her punk times, Westwood’s clothing were being normally intentionally surprising: T-shirts adorned with drawings of naked boys, and “bondage pants” with sadomasochistic overtones ended up standard fare in her popular London shops.

But Westwood was in a position to make the transition from punk to haute couture with out missing a beat, maintaining her vocation heading devoid of stooping to self-caricature.

Operate called ‘provocative,’ ‘transgressive’

“She was generally seeking to reinvent trend. Her work is provocative, it is really transgressive. It truly is very much rooted in the English tradition of pastiche and irony and satire. She is extremely proud of her Englishness, and nonetheless she sends it up,” Bolton stated.

Just one of people transgressive and contentious types showcased a swastika, an inverted graphic of Jesus Christ on the cross and the phrase “Demolish.”

In an autobiography penned with Ian Kelly, she explained it was meant as portion of a statement versus politicians torturing folks, citing Chile’s Augusto Pinochet. When asked in a 2009 interview with Time magazine if she regretted the swastika design, Westwood mentioned no.

“I don’t, due to the fact we ended up just expressing to the more mature era, ‘We don’t take your values or your taboos, and you’re all fascists,'” she responded.

Model on a fashion runway wearing a colourful t-shirt
A design wears a design by Westwood at London Fashion 7 days on Feb. 21, 2016. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/The Involved Press)

She approached her function with gusto in her early yrs, but about time she seemed to tire of the clamor and excitement.

Right after decades of planning, she from time to time spoke wistfully of going outside of style so she could focus on environmental matters and academic projects.

“Manner can be so uninteresting,” she instructed The Linked Press following unveiling a single of her new collections at a 2010 present. “I am trying to come across anything else to do.”

At the time, she was conversing up strategies to commence a television sequence about artwork and science.

Her runway demonstrates were being usually the most stylish events, drawing stars from the glittery environment of film, music and television who required to bask in Westwood’s reflected glory. But however she spoke out towards consumerism and conspicuous intake, even urging folks not to get her pricey, beautifully created dresses.

“I just inform people today, stop obtaining outfits,” she stated. “Why not guard this reward of everyday living although we have it? I don’t take the mindset that destruction is inevitable. Some of us would like to quit that and support people today survive.”

Westwood’s activism prolonged to supporting WikiLeaks founder Assange, posing in a huge birdcage in 2020 to attempt to halt his extradition to the United States about the organization’s release of confidential U.S. navy records. She even created the costume Stella Moris wore when she married Assange this earlier March at a London prison.

Woman in a wedding dress standing in front of two red arm chairs.
Stella Moris, Assange’s associate, is photographed wearing her wedding ceremony costume intended by Westwood on March 23, 2022. The couple married at a London jail. (Dylan Martinez/Pool/Reuters)

Earth ‘a considerably less attention-grabbing place’ without her

Westwood was self-taught, with no official fashion teaching. She told Marie Claire magazine that she figured out how to make her individual garments as a teenager by following designs. When she required to market 1950s-design and style clothing at her to start with shop, she located aged clothes in marketplaces and took them apart to realize the reduce and development.

She satisfied Malcolm McLaren in the 1960s even though working as a primary schoolteacher immediately after separating from her initially husband, Derek Westwood. She and McLaren opened a little shop in Chelsea in 1971, the tail finish of the “Swinging London” era ushered in by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

The store altered its title and aim many instances, running as “Sex” — Westwood and McLaren were fined in 1975 for an “indecent exhibition” there — and “World’s Stop” and “Seditionaries.”

Close-up of a runway model wearing glasses with beads hanging off them.
A product wears a generation designed by Westwood at her completely ready-to-don vogue present in Paris on Oct. 2, 2021. (Vianney Le Caer/Invision/The Connected Press)

Among the the employees at their store was Sexual intercourse Pistols bassist Glen Matlock, who known as Westwood “a one particular-off, driven, one-minded, talented lady” in a statement to The Involved Push.

He said it was a privilege “to have rubbed shoulders with her in the mid ’70s at what was the birth of punk and the worldwide waves it developed that still carry on to echo and resound right now for the disaffected, hipper and wised up all around the globe.”

“Vivienne is long gone and the entire world is by now a less appealing location,” Chrissie Hynde, the frontwoman of rock band the Pretenders and an additional previous personnel, posted on Twitter.

A model wearing pink bubble wrap around her head.
A model wears a creation designed by Westwood at her all set-to-don manner selection in Paris on Sept. 30, 2017. (Francois Mori/The Related Press) © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.