81-year-old renowned British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood passes away

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Vivienne Westwood, a British designer who became a fashion icon with her punk and new wave-inspired clothing, passed away on Thursday. She was eighty-one.

On social media, Westwood’s namesake fashion brand declared her passing, stating that she passed away quietly in the company of her loved ones. It was not stated what caused the death.

The fashion brand stated on Twitter that “the world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better.”

With the punk movement of the 1970s, Westwood’s fashion career got its start. Her avant-garde take on urban street style quickly gained international recognition. However, she went on to have a lengthy career that was crowned by several successful runway shows in New York, London, Paris, and Milan.

Even though Westwood changed her focus from year to year, her name came to be associated with attitude and style. Her work was unpredictable and encompassed a wide range.

Westwood, who was born on April 8, 1941, in Glossop, England, worked as a schoolteacher before getting married to Derek Westwood in 1962. 1965 saw the couple’s divorce.

Fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood poses for a portrait at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles on March 31, 2011.

In 1965, Westwood entered into a professional collaboration with Malcom McLaren, who gained notoriety for overseeing the punk rock group the Sex Pistols. Together, they oversaw Let It Rock, a vintage clothing and rock record store from the 1950s that sold items from McLaren’s collection. Later, they launched the boutique Seditionaries.

Taking McLaren’s cues as inspiration, self-taught designer Westwood also created clothing designs, such as distressed T-shirts with “shocking antiestablishment slogans and graphics” and bondage pants with sadomasochistic aesthetics.

Eventually, Westwood went it alone and started her own fashion business, creating yearly collections of menswear and womenswear and opening several boutiques. She also created bridal gowns, accessories, makeup, and fragrances.

Even with the subversive edge of her creations, Westwood frequently looked to the past for inspiration, drawing inspiration from the classical art of Thomas Gainsborough, François Boucher, and Jean-Honoré Fragonard as well as historical British dress pieces. Her first catwalk show in 1981 featured her Pirates collection, which exemplified this retro-modern aesthetic.

Her fashion shows were always the most stylish affairs, attracting celebrities from the glitzy realms of TV, music, and film. However, Westwood advocated against materialism and ostentatious spending, even pleading with people not to purchase her pricey, exquisitely designed clothing.

Westwood said, “I just tell people to stop buying clothes.” “While we still have this gift of life, why not preserve it? I don’t adopt the mindset that says devastation will always occur. Some of us want to put an end to it and assist individuals in surviving.”

Despite her contempt for materialism, Westwood’s striking fashion sense became a sensation in its own right. In the 2008 film “Sex and the City,” Sarah Jessica Parker made headlines for her Westwood wedding gown as Carrie Bradshaw. In 2011, pop sensation Rihanna attended the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show wearing a black silk taffeta corset.

Because of her activism and commitment to her punk roots, Westwood was able to connect her designs with younger consumers, something that other designers of her era found difficult to do.

Many influencers have taken a liking to a Westwood triple pearl choker set adorned with the house’s orb logo, which has earned it the moniker “TikTok necklace” due to its unique blend of punk flair and classic elegance.

Because of her artistic achievements, Westwood was recognized nationally in her home England, where she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1992 and a Dame Commander in 2006. When Westwood visited Buckingham Palace in 1992 to pick up her medal, she made it very evident that she was not wearing underwear by the way she posed for pictures.

She appeared to transcend fashion as her fame increased, and her creations were exhibited in museum collections all over the world. The young lady who had disregarded the British establishment grew up to become one of its leading lights, advocating for environmental reform from her privileged position while maintaining her signature bright orange hair color.

Westwood is survived by her two sons, fashion photographer Ben Westwood and businessman Joe Corré, as well as her second husband, Andreas Kronthaler, an Austrian native.

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