Vivienne Westwood, iconic fashion designer, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential vogue maverick who performed a vital job in the punk motion, died Thursday at 81.

Westwood’s eponymous vogue house declared her loss of life on social media platforms, declaring she died peacefully. A lead to of demise was not disclosed in the statement.

Westwood’s fashion profession began in the 1970s with the punk explosion, when her radical technique to urban street design took the world by storm. But she went on to appreciate a very long occupation highlighted by a string of triumphant runway displays in London, Paris, Milan and New York.

The identify Westwood grew to become synonymous with type and attitude even as she shifted concentrate from year to year. Her assortment was vast and her work was by no means predictable.

As her stature grew, she appeared to transcend manner, with her types proven in museum collections through the globe. The youthful female who had scorned the British establishment at some point grew to become a single of its foremost lights, and she employed her elite placement to lobby for environmental reforms even as she stored her hair dyed the shiny shade of orange that became her trademark.

Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood watches rehearsals forward of her display throughout London Manner 7 days at Royal College of Surgeons on Feb. 21, 2016 in London, England.

John Phillips / Getty Photographs

Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, claimed Westwood would be celebrated for pioneering the punk glimpse, pairing a radical style solution with the anarchic punk sounds created by the Intercourse Pistols, managed by her then-associate, Malcolm McLaren.

“They gave the punk motion a appear, a type, and it was so radical it broke from everything in the previous,” he explained. “The ripped shirts, the safety pins, the provocative slogans. She introduced postmodernism. It was so influential from the mid-70s. The punk motion has hardly ever dissipated — it is really come to be part of our vogue vocabulary. It can be mainstream now.”

Westwood’s extended career was total of contradictions: She was a lifelong rebel who was honored several occasions by Queen Elizabeth II. She dressed like a teenager even in her 60s and grew to become an outspoken advocate of battling global warming, warning of planetary doom if weather change was not controlled.

In her punk times, Westwood’s apparel ended up often deliberately surprising: T-shirts decorated with drawings of naked boys, and “bondage pants” with sadomasochistic overtones were being common fare in her well-known London retailers. But Westwood was in a position to make the changeover from punk to haute couture without having lacking a beat, maintaining her profession going without stooping to self-caricature.

“She was generally striving to reinvent vogue. Her operate is provocative, it can be transgressive. It really is incredibly significantly rooted in the English tradition of pastiche and irony and satire. She is really proud of her Englishness, and however she sends it up,” Bolton stated.

A person of individuals transgressive and contentious patterns featured a swastika, an inverted image of Jesus Christ on the cross and the phrase “Ruin.” In an autobiography composed with Ian Kelly, she reported it was meant as component of a statement against politicians torturing people, citing Chile’s Augusto Pinochet. When requested if she regretted the swastika structure in a 2009 job interview with Time journal, Westwood explained no.

“I don’t, since we have been just stating to the more mature generation, ‘We really don’t acknowledge your values or your taboos, and you’re all fascists,'” she responded.

She approached her operate with gusto in her early decades, but in excess of time appeared to tire of the clamor and buzz. Immediately after a long time of building, she in some cases spoke wistfully of going beyond trend so she could focus on environmental matters and academic jobs.

“Manner can be so monotonous,” she explained to The Involved Press soon after unveiling a person of her new collections at a 2010 exhibit. “I am making an attempt to obtain anything else to do.” At the time, she was talking up ideas to start off a tv series about art and science.

Francis McGee

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