LONDON — 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 dying on social media platforms, saying she died peacefully. A trigger was not disclosed.
“Vivienne continued to do the issues she beloved, 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 Nineteen Seventies when her radical strategy to city avenue type 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 identify Westwood grew to become synonymous with type and perspective at the same time as 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 girl who had scorned the British institution finally grew to become considered one of its main lights, at the same time as she saved her hair dyed that trademark shiny 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 method, and it was so radical it broke from something up to now.”
“The ripped shirts, the protection 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 is turn out to be a part of our style vocabulary. It is mainstream now.”
Westwood’s lengthy profession was stuffed with contradictions: She was a lifelong insurgent honored a number of occasions by Queen Elizabeth II. She dressed like a young person 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 usually deliberately surprising: T-shirts embellished with drawings of bare boys and “bondage pants” with sadomasochistic overtones had been normal fare in her fashionable London outlets. However Westwood was in a position to transition from punk to high fashion with out lacking a beat, maintaining her profession going with out stooping to self-caricature.
“She was all the time attempting to reinvent style. Her work is provocative, it is transgressive. It’s totally a lot rooted within the English custom of pastiche and irony and satire. She could be very pleased with her Englishness, and nonetheless she sends it up,” Bolton mentioned.
A type 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 do not, as a result of we had been simply saying to the older era, ‘We do not 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 a long time of designing, she generally spoke wistfully of shifting past style so she might focus on environmental issues and academic initiatives.
“Trend may be so boring,” she advised The Related Press after unveiling considered one of her new collections at a 2010 present. “I am looking for one thing else to do.”
Her runway reveals had been all the time probably the most stylish occasions, drawing stars from the glittery world of movie, music, and tv who wished 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, superbly made garments.
“I simply inform folks, cease shopping for garments,” she mentioned. “Why not shield this reward of life whereas now we have it? I do not take the perspective that destruction is inevitable. A few of us wish 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 gown Stella Moris wore when she married Assange this previous March at a London jail.
Westwood was self-taught, with no formal style coaching. She advised Marie Claire journal that she discovered tips on how to make her personal garments as a young person by following patterns. When she wished to promote Fifties-style garments at her first store, she discovered previous garments in markets and took them aside to know the reduce and building.
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 faculty for one time period.
She met McLaren within the Sixties whereas working as a main faculty trainer 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 identify and focus a number of occasions, 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 girl” 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 beginning of punk and the worldwide waves it created that also proceed to echo and resound right now for the disaffected, hipper and wised up across the globe.”
“Vivienne is gone and the world is already a much less fascinating place,” tweeted Chrissie Hynde, the frontwoman of the Pretenders and one other former worker.
Westwood moved right into a contemporary sort 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 modern garments.
It was additionally an necessary step in an ongoing rapprochement between Westwood and the style world. The insurgent finally grew to become considered one 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 finally branched out into a variety of enterprise actions, together with an alliance with Italian designer Giorgio Armani, and developed her ready-to-wear Pink Label line, her extra unique Gold Label line, a menswear assortment and fragrances known as Boudoir and Libertine. Westwood outlets opened in New York, Hong Kong, Milan and several other different main cities.
She was named designer of the 12 months by the British Trend Council in 1990 and 1991.
Her uneasy relationship with the British institution is maybe greatest 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 manner 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 below 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 price tens of millions: “Punk was by no means, by no means meant to be nostalgic,” he mentioned.