Vivienne Westwood, 81, dies; bringing provocative punk style to high fashion

Vivienne Westwood, the designer who defined punk style, brought a rebellious side to British style with rock iconography, royalty, art and religion as recurring themes in her collections, before embarking on a long journey as a fashion designer. Streak, an influential career campaigner, died near Clapham, south London, on Thursday. She is 81 years old.

Her death was announced by her company, Vivienne Westwood, without specifying the cause of death.

Mrs. Westwood opened a store called Let It Rock at 430 Kings Road in London with her boyfriend Malcolm McLaren (Malcolm McLaren) at the time as the music The manager later went on to manage the Sex Pistols) was 30 years old. The store, which has a pink vinyl sign on the front, is an unconventional company that sells fetish clothing and fashion inspired by 1950s teddy boy looks.

In shaping the face of the times, Ms. Westwood became known as the godmother of punk. After her collaboration with Mr. McLaren ended, she began designing collections under her own name and soon established an international reputation.

She went on to open more stores in London and globally; her provocative pieces appeared on supermodels and celebrities, and influenced mainstream fashion. Corsets, platform shoes and miniskirts (a combination of Victorian petticoats and miniskirts) became her trademark.

“People really associate her with punk and the whole aesthetic, which is accurate, and that’s how she became famous, but she’s so much more than that,” “Dress Code: Unlocking Fashion from New Look to Millennial Pink​​​​ “Véronique Hyland,” (2022), said in an interview for this obituary. “She was influenced by art history, old master paintings. She pays great attention to the British tailoring tradition. “

In her 2014 memoir, known simply as “Vivienne Westwood,” Westwood wrote that people “still seem surprised that you can be in punk and then be in fashion, but it’s all connected.”

“It’s not about fashion, you see,” she wrote. “For me, it’s about the story. It’s about the idea.”

This King’s Road store always offers a glimpse into the owner’s obsession with class, fashion and decorum. As the years went by, its name often changed – it was called Let It Rock. too young to live; sex; demagogues; and the end of the world. Its merchandise is also changed frequently.

Mrs. Westwood made the clothes, which might include shirts with pin-up girl cutouts, or studded underwear made from T-shirts with slogans like “Destroy” or “Rationality, Demand the Impossible.”

“I don’t see myself as a fashion designer, but as someone who wants to confront corruption by the way I and others dress,” she said. Westwood said in a memoir she co-authored with Ian Kelly.

Sometimes, the choices women make. Westwood and Mr McLaren, an art-school dropout inspired by the theater of the absurd promoted by the French Situationists, could be controversial; they once included swastikas in their designs. (“We’re just saying to the older generation, ‘We don’t accept your values ​​or taboos, you’re all fascists,’” she later explained.)

They see stores as laboratories and salons. When Mr. McLaren ran the Sex Pistols and recruited Johnny Rotten as their frontman, Ms. Westwood dressed them in shop T-shirts and bondage pants, complete with chains and shaved beard blade. Their popular songs, titled “Anarchy in Britain” and “God Save the Queen”, were the soundtrack to British nihilism in the 1970s.

“I was about 36 when punk started, and I was disturbed by what was going on in the world,” she says. Westwood told Harper’s Bazaar in 2013. “It was the hippies who taught my generation about politics, and that’s what I care about – the world is so corrupt and mismanaged, people are suffering, wars, all these horrible things.”

Chrissie Hynde, who would become frontman for The Pretenders, was an assistant at the store. She is quoted in Ms. “I don’t think there would be punk without Vivienne and Malcolm,” Westwood said in his memoirs.

“Something might happen,” she continued, “it might be called punk, but even in America, it’s not going to look like it used to. And looks matter.”

Vivienne Isabel Swire was born on 8 April 1941 in the village of Glossop, Derbyshire, to Gordon and Dora (Ball) Swire. She is from a blue-collar family. During World War II, her father worked in munitions and aircraft factories, and her mother worked in a local cotton factory.

In 1957, her parents decided to move to Harrow, North West London, to give their children more opportunities. Vivienne took her first sewing lessons at the age of 8, briefly attending Harrow School of Art. She later worked in a Kodak factory and then studied at Teachers College, where she taught young children, but always in a different way: In her memoirs, she recalls taking an 8-year-old class to see “Battleship Potemkin” , which is Sergei Eisenstein’s epic 1925 film about the proletarian revolution.

She met Derek Westwood, an apprentice toolmaker, at a dance. They were married in July 1962. Just months after she gave birth to her son Ben, she left Mr. westwood. The couple divorced in 1965.

gentlemen. McLaren was a friend of her brother Gordon, whom they met in 1965. McLaren in her memoirs. Their son Joseph Corey (whose last name was his grandmother’s) was born in 1967.

The couple ended their relationship in 1981 but remained business partners until 1984, when their store became Ladies. Westwood’s own.

Mrs. In 1989, Westwood and her second husband, the designer Andreas Kronthaler, was a student while she was teaching fashion design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna; they married in 1993. Kronthaler, who would later become her company’s creative director, is alive with her sons. Corré, founder of lingerie company Agent Provocateur, and photographer Ben Westwood; and two grandchildren.

Mrs. Westwood was named Designer of the Year by the British Fashion Council in 1990 and 1991, and was recognized for his excellence in fashion at the 2007 British Fashion Awards. When she accepted the OBE from Queen Elizabeth II in 1992, she featured in a ceremony in which she wore no underwear, breaking the rules and famously attracting the attention of the paparazzi. In 2006, she was named a Lady on the Queen’s New Year’s Honors List.

Mrs. Westwood’s clothing has featured prominently in pop culture, including in the 2008 film adaptation of the television series “Sex and the City.” When British actress Kate Winslet was nominated for an Academy Award for Titanic, she wore a Vivienne Westwood gown to the Oscars.

In her life, Ms. As The New York Times noted in 2017, Westwood remained “an outspoken environmental and political activist whose collections were consistently a manifesto and a rallying cry.” In a show that year, she Urge viewers to switch to green energy and focus on the environment.

2020, Ms. Wearing a bright yellow suit, Westwood locked himself in a giant birdcage outside a London courthouse to protest the jailing of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. “I’m Julian Assange,” she declared. “I’m a canary in a cage. If I die in a coal mine of poisonous gases, that’s the signal.”

“What I do now, is still punk,” she said. Westwood wrote in her memoirs. “It’s still about calling out injustice and making people think, even when it’s uncomfortable.

“In that sense, I will always be a punk.”

Danielle Cruz contributed reporting.

Source link