Vivienne Westwood, British fashion designer, dies at 81


We all know the slogan: “Punk is not dead”… but its Empress is leaving. British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood died on Thursday aged 81, her family told the Press Association (PA) news agency. “Vivienne Westwood died today, peacefully surrounded by her family in Clapham, South London . The world needs people like Vivienne to change things for the better,” her haute couture brand tweeted.

Born Vivienne Swire, she left her native Derbyshire at 17 for London where she studied fashion. His meeting with Malcolm McLaren, the future manager of the Sex Pistols, changes his life. Driven by the same desire to break with the "Peace and Love" generation, the couple launched into clothing and opened a shop on King's Road in 1970.

Punk, green and irreverent

Porn T-shirts , SM outfits, pumps with stiletto heels or vinyl tights make up the outfits that Vivienne Westwood wears in front of dumbfounded passers-by. Success is on the way. Their closeness to the "Sex Pistols", whose hit "God save the Queen" was a worldwide success, anchored the couple in the punk universe. It was during this period that she designed her famous T-shirt featuring the face of Queen Elizabeth . In 1981, she organized her first parade in London, which she named “Pirates”.

Always irreverent, as in 1992 when she was photographed leaving Buckingham Palace without underwear. The designer had just been made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) by the Queen and showed off her private parts as she twirled her skirt. But above all, Vivienne Westwood remains an ultra-politicized fashion designer. Convictions that she defended on her podiums.

At the center of his fights, his commitment to the environment. A pioneer, in 2008 she called on the fashion industry to take climate change into account and urged consumers not to constantly buy clothes, even if her detractors pointed out her contradictions in this area.

In March 2022, she was on the podium in Paris to greet the public after a parade of her label, even if she abandoned the artistic direction to her husband since 2016. At 81, exit the long red mane , here she is with gray hair, tied in an elegant bun, but perched on impressive platform shoes. True to herself.