Friday, June 14, 2024
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Home » British Fashion Designer Vivienne Westwood Dies

British Fashion Designer Vivienne Westwood Dies

by Keegan Fraser
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Vivienne Westwood died “peacefully and surrounded” by her family her fashion house said on Thursday. She was 81.

“The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better,” her fashion house said on Instagram.

“She led an amazing life. Her innovation and impact over the last 60 years has been immense and will continue into the future.”

A cause of death was not disclosed.

Her husband and creative partner Andreas Kronthaler said they, “have been working until the end and she has given me plenty of things to get on with.”

Queen of punk fashion

She began her career in fashion in the 1970s, and quickly rose to prominence with her edgy, punk-inspired designs.

A rebellious spirit characterized Westwood’s work even when she became synonymous with style as she shifted focus from year to year.

“The only reason I am in fashion is to destroy the word ‘conformity’,” Westwood said in her 2014 biography. “Nothing is interesting to me unless it’s got that element.”

Westwood once sent a bare-breasted Kate Moss down the runway munching on ice cream, and almost broke Naomi Campbell’s ankle when the supermodel failed to stay upright on a pair of her nine-inch platform heels.

Unapologetically political designer

Instantly recognizable with her trademark orange or white hair, Westwood remained firmly anti-establishment.

Climate change, pollution, and her support for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange were all fodder for protest T-shirts or banners carried by her models on the runway.

“I’ve always had a political agenda,” Westwood told L’Officiel fashion magazine in 2018. “I’ve used fashion to challenge the status quo.”

‘Stop buying clothes’

She was a vocal critic of fast fashion and a pioneer in using ethical and sustainable materials in her collections.

“I just tell people, stop buying clothes,” she said.

“Why not protect this gift of life while we have it? I don’t take the attitude that destruction is inevitable. Some of us would like to stop that and help people survive.”

This support for environmental causes eventually won her uneasy approval from the British establishment.

She received numerous accolades for her contributions to the fashion industry throughout her career, including being made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth in 2006.

Tributes pour in for Westwood

Westwood’s death sparked a wave of condolences from those in the fashion world, celebrities, and activists.

Fellow designer called Westwood, “A completely unique and fearless forerunner,”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said she was “a creative icon who helped cement the UK at the very forefront of modern fashion.”

Boy George shared a photo of himself with Westwood on his Twitter page, remembering her as “the undisputed Queen of British fashion.”

Fellow punk icon singer Billy Idol took to Facebook to say her death was “too much.” “She was such a big part of our lives, those who loved her fashion and cultural influences,” he wrote.

Stella Assange posted a message from her husband, Julian, who is being held in Belmarsh prison, “Vivienne was a Dame and a pillar of the anti-establishment. Bold, creative, thoughtful and a good friend. The best of Britain. She will be missed terribly by me and many others.”

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament called her “an inspirational activist for peace and planet.”

Westwood is survived by her second husband, Austrian-born Andreas Kronthaler, and her two sons.

The first, fashion photographer Ben Westwood, was her son with Derek Westwood. The second, Joe Corre, her son with Malcolm McLaren, co-founded the upscale Agent Provocateur lingerie line.

Source : The Daily Star

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