Dame Vivienne Westwood infiltrated the style scene along with her eccentric and androgynous designs, in the end establishing herself because the pioneer of the punk trend motion.
Up till her demise on the age of 81, the designer continued to create eye-catching items, typically utilizing trend as a weapon to defend her strongly-held social and political views.
Dame Vivienne was born Vivienne Isabel Swire to folks Gordon and Dora Swire in Tintwistle, Derbyshire, in April 1941.
She was the eldest of three youngsters and after her household moved to London, Westwood enrolled on a jewellery-making and silversmith course on the College of Westminster, then often known as Harrow Artwork Faculty, however deserted the course after the primary time period.
Seeking a brand new endeavor, Dame Vivienne skilled as a major college instructor whereas additionally working in a manufacturing facility. Throughout this time, she started to promote jewellery she had designed and created from a stall in Portobello Market.
She married her first husband, Derek Westwood, in her early twenties and the couple had a son, Benjamin, earlier than separating.
Dame Vivienne went on to satisfy Malcolm McLaren – who later turned the supervisor of punk rock band the Intercourse Pistols – and the pair would design and create garments collectively.
The Intercourse Pistols typically wore clothes designed by Dame Vivienne and McLaren, and because the band gained consideration, so did the designs.
The couple had a son, Joseph Corre, who later adopted within the artistic footsteps of his mother and father and co-founded luxurious lingerie model Agent Provocateur.
Together with her and McLaren’s designs, Dame Vivienne made a reputation for herself as one of many pioneers of punk trend and is commonly considered one of many designers answerable for bringing new wave trend kinds into the mainstream.
Dame Vivienne later opened a store on the Kings Highway and after trialing a wide range of names for the institution she settled on SEX.
The store was just the start for Dame Vivienne, who went on to ascertain a worldwide trend model and present her garments on the catwalks of London and Paris.
Immediately, there are Vivienne Westwood shops within the UK, France, Italy, the US and Asia.
Dame Vivienne later discovered a brand new romantic and inventive accomplice in Austrian designer Andreas Kronthaler, whom she married in 1992.
The designer’s creations have been finally worn by the likes of Dita Von Teese, Naomi Campbell and even the fictional Carrie Bradshaw, who opted for a Vivienne Westwood wedding ceremony costume for her marriage to Mr. Massive within the 2008 Intercourse And The Metropolis film.
After cementing herself as one of the recognizable faces in trend, Dame Vivienne used her recognition to entrance various social and political initiatives, together with campaigning for the discharge of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who’s preventing to keep away from being despatched to the US to face fees underneath the Espionage Act.
In July 2020, Dame Vivienne sounded a warning over an Assange “stitch-up” whereas wearing canary yellow in an enormous hen cage.
She led a colourful band of protesters chanting “Free Julian Assange” exterior the Outdated Bailey in central London.
Suspended contained in the cage, she mentioned: “Don’t extradite Assange – it’s a stitch-up.”
Dame Vivienne was additionally answerable for designing the marriage costume of Stella Moris for her marriage to Assange at Belmarsh jail in March 2022.
She additionally lent her assist to the Marketing campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, animal rights charity Peta and vegetarianism. She had been a supporter of the Inexperienced Celebration since 2015 and is reported to have donated 1000’s of kilos to the occasion.
Dame Vivienne turned identified for being as eccentric as a few of her designs and pulled various eye-catching stuns throughout her lifetime.
When awarded an OBE in 1992, Dame Vivienne wore a superbly tailor-made skirt swimsuit with a gray matching hat. Though the outfit appeared demure, Dame Vivienne quickly revealed she was not sporting any underwear after she started twirling round for photographers.
She later advised the Every day Mail: “I met a person who labored with the Queen and he mentioned she was reasonably amused by it.”
Following her return to Buckingham Palace in 2006, when she was made a dame, Dame Vivienne as soon as once more revealed she was with out underwear.
Nevertheless, on the second event she kept away from twirling and as a substitute advised the Every day Mail: “Don’t ask. It’s the identical reply. I don’t put on them with attire.”
Dame Vivienne attracted consideration when she dressed up as former prime minister Margaret Thatcher for the quilt of Tatler journal and drove a white tank near the house of former prime minister David Cameron as a part of a protest towards fracking.
Throughout London Style Week in 2012, she appeared on the catwalk herself, wrapped in a banner bearing the phrases “local weather revolution” and bearing a number of flesh beneath.
Talking forward of her present, she mentioned that exhibiting her garments merely offered her with a platform to speak about local weather change.
“It’s my job and it provides me an excuse,” she mentioned.
“Earlier than we’ve had class struggle, we’ve had wealthy towards poor, are you aware what the division is now? It’s idiots towards eco-warriors. That’s it.”
Dame Vivienne encountered various members of the Royal Household throughout her profession, and whereas attending a 2012 reception at St James’s Palace to launch a brand new exhibition of British menswear at an occasion hosted by the then Prince of Wales, Dame Vivienne mentioned an excellent a part of her respect for the Royal Household was as a consequence of Charles.
A few of Dame Vivienne’s best-known creations embrace the Mini Crini, bustle-skirts, bondage trousers and 12-inch platform sneakers, the kind which famously tripped up supermodel Naomi Campbell.
She developed the concept of underwear as outerwear – and Madonna’s legendary conical bra worn on her Blonde Ambition tour, designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, would in all probability by no means have occurred if not for Westwood.
She additionally remodeled the corset from an emblem of feminine repression to certainly one of energy and sexual freedom.
In an announcement from Dame Vivienne’s representatives saying her demise on December 29, it was mentioned that The Vivienne Basis, a not-for-profit firm based by Dame Vivienne, her sons and granddaughter in late 2022, will launch subsequent yr to “honor, shield and proceed the legacy of Vivienne’s life, design and activism.”