Who Is Vivienne Westwood? Here Are 5 Things About Designer Dead At 81. – Hollywood Life

Vivienne Westwood: 5 Things About The British Fashion Designer Dead At 81

An icon in the fashion world has passed away at the age of 81. Here's what to know about Vivienne Westwood.

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Dame Vivienne Westwood
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  • Vivienne Westwood was a world-famous fashion designer.
  • She had a huge impact on the fashion industry and punk movement.
  • Vivienne passed away ‘peacefully’ on December 29, 2022.

Dame Vivienne Westwood, the legendary British fashion designer behind that lavish Sex and the City wedding gown, has passed away, according to her official Twitter account. “29th December 2022,” a statement read. “Vivienne Westwood died today, peacefully and surrounded by her family, in Clapham, South London. The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better.”

Vivienne Westwood
Dame Vivienne Westwood (Richard Young/Shutterstock)

No official cause of death was given, but the family also posted a snapshot of Vivienne and a sweet message. “Dame Vivienne Westwood, Designer & Activist — 8th April 1941 ~ 29th December 2022,” it read alongside a reproduction of her distinctive signature. “‘Tao spiritual system. There was never more need for the Tao today. Tao gives you a feeling that you belong to the cosmos and gives purpose to your life; it gives you such a sense of identity and strength to know you’re living the life you can live and therefore ought to be living: make full use of your character and full use of your life on earth.'” ~ Vivienne Westwood.

Here are five things to know about Dame Vivienne Westwood as the fashion world mourns her death.

She’s British.

Not only is Vivienne Westwood (born Vivienne Isabel Swire) British, she’s also been decorated! The late designer’s accomplishments in fashion were considered so profound that she was honored with an OBE by the late Queen Elizabeth II in 1992 at Buckingham Palace. Dame Vivienne famously brought her fashion game to the upscale event, wearing nothing but sheer tights under her skirt, which she twirled for photographers. “I wished to show off my outfit by twirling the skirt,” she reportedly told The Independent in 2001 about the incident. “It did not occur to me that, as the photographers were practically on their knees, the result would be more glamorous than I expected. I have heard that the picture amused the Queen.”

The honor was later upgraded to DBE in 2006 for “services to fashion.”

She’s renowned for the ‘punk era.’

Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood at a fashion show in Paris on Oct 3, 2006. (Khayat-Nebinger-Orban-Taamallah/ABACA/Shutterstock)

According to her Wikipedia page, Vivienne was an “architect” of the 1970s punk fashion phenomenon. She co-managed a famed shop called SEX with the “father” of the punk movement, Malcolm McLaren, one of her romantic partners. There they held informal court with early devotees of the London punk movement. “I was messianic about punk, seeing if one could put a spoke in the system in some way,” she once said, per The Independent in 2002.

Per Wikipedia, punk icon Viv Albertine described her influence on the punk scene. “Vivienne and Malcolm use clothes to shock, irritate and provoke a reaction but also to inspire change,” she wrote in Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys.: A Memoir. “Mohair jumpers, knitted on big needles, so loosely that you can see all the way through them, T-shirts slashed and written on by hand, seams and labels on the outside, showing the construction of the piece; these attitudes are reflected in the music we make. It’s OK to not be perfect, to show the workings of your life and your mind in your songs and your clothes.”

A documentary called Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, premiered in 2018.

She’s a mother.

Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne in Paris (Paul Cooper/Shutterstock)

Vivienne is a mother of two sons. She welcomed Ben Westwood, now 59, with erotica photographer Derek Westwood in 1963. Her second son Joseph Corré was born to Vivienne and Malcolm McLaren in 1967. He is notably a co-found of upscale lingerie house Agent Provocateur.

She’s been married twice.

The fashion icon has been married twice during her life. Vivienne married her first husband, Derek, in 1962, but the marriage was short lived and ended three years later in 1965. Decades later, in 1992, she subsequently married her former fashion student Andreas Kronthaler. 

She was an author.

Pamela Anderson and Vivienne Westwood
Pamela Anderson and Vivienne Westwood during Paris Fashion Week on March 6, 2009 (David Fisher/Shutterstock)

Vivienne notably authored or coauthored multiple books during her storied career in fashion, including Fashion in Art: The Second Empire and Impressionism and Vivienne Westwood Opus 2008, a large format limited edition book weighing 44 pounds.