Bringing a rebellious edge to British style and later having a long career in high fashion, Vivienne Westwood defined the look of punk, using rock iconography, royalty, art and religion as recurring motifs in her collections. The designer who died Thursday in the Clapham district of south London. She was 81 years old.
Her death was announced by her company, Vivienne Westwood, but the cause has not been specified.
When Westwood opened a shop called Let It Rock at 430 King’s Road in London with her boyfriend Malcolm McLaren (who would later manage the Sex Pistols as a musical impresario), Westwood was only a few. I was 30. With a pink vinyl sign on the front, the business was unconventional, selling fetish-his wear and fashion inspired by Teddy-His-Boy look in the 1950s.
In shaping the style of the era, Ms. Westwood became known as the godmother of punk. After her partnership with Mr. McLaren ended, she began designing collections under her own name, quickly establishing her international reputation. She has opened more stores in London and around the world. Her provocative work has appeared on supermodels and celebrities and has influenced mainstream fashion. Corsets, platform her shoes, and mini-her clini (a Victorian crinoline and mini-skirt combination) became her hallmarks.
“People really associate her with punk and that whole aesthetic. It’s accurate and how she made her name, but she’s so much more than that,” says Véronique Hyland, “Dress Code: Unlocking Fashion From the New Look to Millennial Pink” (2022), said in an interview for this obituary. We are very focused on tradition.”
In her 2014 memoir Vivienne Westwood, Westwood said that people “still seem surprised that you were punk and then couture, but it’s all connected.” writing.
“It’s not about fashion,” she wrote. “For me, it’s about the story. It’s up to the idea.”
The King’s Road shops were a constant glimpse into the owner’s obsession with class, fashion and politeness. Over the years, its name has changed frequently. It was variously known as Let It Rock. too young to die too fast to live; sex; Its products also changed frequently.
Ms. Westwood has studded shirts made from shirts featuring cut-out pictures of pin-up girls and t-shirts with slogans like “Destroy” and “Be rational, demand the impossible.” I made clothes, such as underwear.
“I never thought of myself as a fashion designer, but someone who wants to challenge the corrupt status quo through the way I dress and dress others. ,” said Westwood in a memoir she wrote with Ian Kelly.
Chrissie Hynde, who later became the lead singer of The Pretenders, was an assistant at the shop. She is quoted in her memoir for Westwood as saying, “I don’t think there would have been punk without Vivian and Malcolm.”
“Something must have happened,” she continued. And looks mattered too. “
The choices made by Ms. Westwood and Ms. McLaren, art school dropouts inspired by French situationist-defended plays of absurdity, can be controversial at times. They once included a swastika in their designs. (“We just told the older generation, ‘We don’t accept your values and taboos. You’re all fascists,'” she later explained.)
They saw the store as a laboratory and a salon. When Mr. McLaren was in charge of sex his pistols, Mr. Westwood dressed them in his shirt in the shop and bondage his pants with chains and razor blades. Their aggressively distributed songs, with names like “British Anarchy” and “God Save the Queen”, were the soundtrack to 1970s British nihilism.
“I was about 36 when the blowout happened. I was upset with what was going on in the world,” Westwood told Harper’s Bazaar in 2013. The world is so corrupt and mismanaged, people are suffering, wars and all these terrible things are happening”…“And I also blame the older generation for what is happening. I did,” she added. For example, that’s why the swastika symbol came into use in punk. “
A full obituary follows.