Vivienne Westwood, iconic fashion designer, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who performed a key position within the punk motion, died Thursday at 81.

Westwood’s eponymous fashion home announced her loss of life on social media platforms, saying she died peacefully. A explanation for loss of life was not disclosed within the assertion.

Westwood’s fashion career started within the Seventies with the punk explosion, when her radical strategy to city road model took the world by storm. But she went on to get pleasure from an extended career highlighted by a string of triumphant runway reveals in London, Paris, Milan and New York.

The identify Westwood grew to become synonymous with model and angle at the same time as she shifted focus from year to year. Her vary was huge and her work was by no means predictable.

As her stature grew, she appeared to transcend fashion, along with her designs proven in museum collections all through the world. The younger lady who had scorned the British institution finally grew to become one in every of its main lights, and he or she used her elite position to foyer for environmental reforms at the same time as she saved her hair dyed the intense shade of orange that grew to become her trademark.

Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood watches rehearsals forward of her present throughout London Fashion Week at Royal College of Surgeons on Feb. 21, 2016 in London, England.

John Phillips / Getty Images

Andrew (*81*), curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, mentioned Westwood could be celebrated for pioneering the punk look, pairing a radical fashion strategy with the anarchic punk sounds developed by the Sex Pistols, managed by her then-partner, Malcolm McLaren.

“They gave the punk movement a look, a style, and it was so radical it broke from anything in the past,” he mentioned. “The ripped shirts, the safety pins, the provocative slogans. She introduced postmodernism. It was so influential from the mid-70s. The punk movement has never dissipated — it’s become part of our fashion vocabulary. It’s mainstream now.”

Westwood’s lengthy career was stuffed with contradictions: She was a lifelong insurgent who was honored a number of occasions by Queen Elizabeth II. She dressed like a youngster even in her 60s and have become an outspoken advocate of combating international warming, warning of planetary doom if local weather change was not managed.

In her punk days, Westwood’s garments had been typically deliberately surprising: T-shirts embellished with drawings of bare boys, and “bondage pants” with sadomasochistic overtones had been commonplace fare in her widespread London outlets. But Westwood was in a position to make the transition from punk to high fashion with out lacking a beat, conserving her career going with out stooping to self-caricature.

“She was always trying to reinvent fashion. Her work is provocative, it’s transgressive. It’s very much rooted in the English tradition of pastiche and irony and satire. She is very proud of her Englishness, and still she sends it up,” (*81*) mentioned.

One of these transgressive and 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 in opposition to politicians torturing individuals, citing Chile’s Augusto Pinochet. When requested if she regretted the swastika design in a 2009 interview with Time journal, Westwood mentioned no.

“I don’t, because we were just saying to the older generation, ‘We don’t accept your values or your taboos, and you’re all fascists,'” she responded.

She approached her work with gusto in her early years, however over time appeared to tire of the clamor and buzz. After a long time of designing, she generally spoke wistfully of transferring past fashion so she may focus on environmental issues and academic initiatives.

“Fashion can be so boring,” she informed The Associated Press after unveiling one in every of her new collections at a 2010 present. “I’m trying to find something else to do.” At the time, she was speaking up plans to start out a tv sequence about artwork and science.

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