Vivienne Westwood dies aged 81. Story by Eleonora de Gray, Editor-in-Chief of RUNWAY MAGAZINE. Photo Courtesy: Andreas Kronthaler.
Her Ladyship left the building… Probably she went to dress again the Queen.
Vivienne Westwood is an era, a bridge between Victorian times to the modern, punk, and ultra modern.
“29th December 2022.
Vivienne Westwood died today, peacefully and surrounded by her family, in Clapham, South London.
Vivienne continued to do the things she loved, up until the last moment, designing, working on her art, writing her book, and changing the world for the better. She led an amazing life. Her innovation and impact over the last 60 years has been immense and will continue into the future.
Vivienne considered herself a Taoist. She wrote, “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.”
The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better.”
Her husband and creative partner, Andreas Kronthaler, said: “I will continue with Vivienne in my heart. We have been working until the end and she has given me plenty of things to get on with. Thank you darling.”
Vivienne Westwood was born in 1941, without formal fashion training she taught herself how to make clothes since she was a teenager. And the story of a great fashion designer began. Blending historical references, classic tailoring and punk rebel style with political messages, she created British fashion as we know it.
She was the one who introduced the Pirates collection in 1981, the Statue of Liberty corset in 1987 named as “underwear as outerwear” trend, and inspired a whole new fashion generation like John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier to break and create new codes. John Galliano brought the “Pirates” with him all the way to Dior, mixing classic Victorian style, Venice costumes and punk, associating himself as a pirate. Jean Paul Gaultier began his new line of “underwear as outerwear”, and in 1989 he created for Madonna his iconic and worldwide famous cone-bra, so much repeated by many brands until today.
In the 1990s Vivienne Westwood became the designer of the Royal Family and Prime Minister of Great Britain. She posed for the cover of Tatler magazine dressed as Margaret Thatcher, over a caption that read: “This woman was once a punk”. She later told Dazed Digital that “the suit I wore had been ordered by Margaret Thatcher from Aquascutum, but she had then cancelled it”.
In 1992 she received the British Empire medal. In 2006 she received the Dame Commander of the British Empire.
In the 2000s Vivienne Westwood turned her political focus towards the climate crisis. In 2007 she published a manifesto “Active Resistance to Propaganda”, in which she wrote: “We have a choice: to become more cultivated, and therefore more human – or by not choosing, to be the destructive and self-destroying animal, the victim of our own cleverness (To be or not to be).”
Her advocacy for global warming for the last 20 years was one of her primary occupations. Her runway shows have been headlined by Climate Emergency slogans displayed on T-shirts. She is the first one who made all her clothes “tracible”. See the press-release and Spring Summer 2021 collection of Vivienne Westwood and her SUSTAINABILITY NOTE.
She was and always will be the greatest British fashion designers and activists of XXth and XXIst century.
God Bless You, Lady Vivienne!