British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood dies aged 81

British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood dies aged 81

Doyenne of British designer Vivienne Westwood died on Thursday at the age of 81, her family said.


Doyenne of British designer Vivienne Westwood, who combined music and fashion to create punk and bring rebellious politics to the catwalk, died on Thursday at the age of 81, her family said. .

Westwood has turned provocation herself into an art form — from the leather bindings she popularized in the 1970s to the time she went lingerie-free to Buckingham Palace to receive her title. benevolent late Queen Elizabeth II.

“Vivienne Westwood passed away today, peaceful and surrounded by family, in Clapham, South London. The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better,” the fashion label’s Twitter account said. her said.

In a statement quoted by the PA news agency, her husband and creative partner Andreas Kronthaler said: “We worked to the end and she gave me so much to start with. Thank you. love.”

Leading the tributes, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum described Westwood as a “real rebel and revolutionary force in fashion”, while Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said she was a “real person”. towering thing”.

“Her punk style rewrote the rule book in the 1970s and (she) was admired by many for the way she stayed true to her values ​​throughout her life,” she said. write on Twitter.


In a colorful career, Westwood let topless Kate Moss down the runway chewing ice cream, and nearly broke Naomi Campbell’s ankle when the supermodel couldn’t stand up straight in her 9-inch heels.

And she’s held to her edge even as she’s been embraced by the organization, thanks in large part to her activism toward environmental goals.

It is very far from the village of Tintwistle in the north of England, where Vivienne Isabel Swire was born on April 8, 1941 into a family whose mother worked in a cotton factory and father worked as a shoemaker.

She sewed her own tailored suits as a teenager and studied jewelry in London, but quickly dropped out, after which she said: “I don’t know how a girl is. working class like me can make a living in the art world.”

She became a teacher, married factory worker Derek Westwood, and had a son when she was 22 years old.

Her life took a big turn when she left her husband for Malcolm McClaren, manager of the Sex Pistols, a few years later.

Together, they opened a clothing store on London’s King’s Road, which became the epicenter of the punk movement.

The store changed over time, but at its height, under the name “SEX”, ripped t-shirts, rubber and tight leather became the provocative uniforms of a generation that wanted to break the rules. the ultimate taboo in culture.

“We see it as a matter of youth against age. Who needs completely parasitic leaders who create war and torture?” she told L’Officiel magazine in 2018.

– ‘I copied them’ –

Westwood later stated that she was not interested in becoming a fashion designer – that she was only doing it to support McClaren’s ambitions – but that she knew where her talent lay.

Her first tailored fashion show took place in 1981. Remembered as the Pirates Collection, it was an instant hit, modeled after Native Americans as the guys. maritime crime.

She told L’Officiel: “No designer has ever done this before, they take inspiration from historical costumes, but I actually copied them.”

She went on to make British and French history critically acclaimed, creating the Mini-Crini (combining Victorian puffy hemlines with modern miniskirts) in 1985.

Her “Witches” collection, in collaboration with graffiti artist Keith Haring, was a favorite of Madonna at the height of her popularity.

In 1992, she married Kronthaler, an Austrian former student, 25 years her junior.

He became her creative director and took up more and more design work in the years that followed.

By the 2000s she was truly a celebrity — designing wedding dresses not only for the elite but also for iconic TV personalities including Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex and the City” and even Miss Piggy.

– Political activist –

Westwood’s political activism became more and more pronounced in the years that followed, advocating against arbitrary detention, nuclear weapons, and especially in favor of environmental groups and causes such as Peace blue.

Critics have pointed out that Westwood has barely lived up to her “Climate Revolution Charter” commitments she issued in her 2013-2014 fall/winter collection.

The advocacy group Redo gave her brand a failing score of 21 out of 100 on the sustainability index.

However, few can deny that she has brought a unique form of cohesion and humanity into the world of fashion.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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