Lady Vivienne Westwood died on 29 December 2022 aged 81. In a press release, her husband and creative partner shared Andrew Kronthaler these sweet words: ‘I will continue with Vivienne in my heart. We worked until the end and she gave me enough things to continue. Thanks darling.’
The report continues that she died peacefully, surrounded by her family, at her home in south London.
More than just a fashion designer, with a career spanning six decades, the brand was that Vivienne Westwood on the world’s cultural (fashion) landscape. Arbiter of anarchist ideals, fearless eco-warrior, courageous protester and godmother of punk are among the many titles bestowed upon her by fans and disciples.
She and her ex-husband Malcolm McLaren helped shape punk movement which appeared in the late 70s and early 80s, brought us the Sex Pistols and gave life to the now infamous ‘SEX’ shop that outraged the entire Chelsea neighborhood.
She also provided us with mini crini skirtsubverts royal tropes like corsets and crinolines to make them provocative, daring and disruptive of the status quo.
From a pioneering use of draperies and constructions that celebrated the feminine form, to slogans that challenged our political affiliations and campaigns that questioned our attachment to clothing while confronting the damage they cause to the planet year after year , things have changed. Westwood always the way we see fashion.
In the wake of her death, an outpouring of tributes from fans, friends and industry giants began. Among them said the legendary British miller Stephen Jones: ‘Without Vivienne, no Rei, John, Lee and a hundred others. She changed my life when we first met in 1976 forever. You were the queen. Thank you for everything you have given us.’
Mark Jacobs said: ‘I continue to learn from your words and all your extraordinary creations. I will always remember the night we bonded over our mutual love of Yves Saint Laurent. You have never failed to surprise and shock. I am grateful for the moments I have shared with you and Andreas. Rest in peace dear Vivienne, although somehow peace seems like the wrong word to use.’
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ELLE UK’s Editor-in-Chief, Kenya hunting said: “Dame Vivienne Westwood’s passing is a great loss to fashion and the world at large. Her influence permeates not only what we wear today, but how we view the meaning and purpose of style. Before it became common for designers and fashion houses speaking out on social, environmental and political issues, Vivienne Westwood was there decades ago speaking true to power as the queen of punk that she was. She used her platform to challenge the world to be and do better, inspiring generations of designers and fashion enthusiasts to do the same.”
Fashion director for Another magazine Alexander Fury said: ‘Through punk she has had a fundamental impact on the way humanity views culture, changing much more than clothes. But when it comes to clothes, her work was revolutionary. Besides Gabrielle Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, her work has had the greatest influence on modern clothing. Although “modern” is a word she hated. Maybe “fashion” was too – because Westwood constantly resented the limitations of fashion, always wanting to communicate something bigger, somehow more important than just how you look. She said it best herself: “You have a more interesting life when you wear impressive clothes.” Hers were the most impressive.’