From punk to prosecutors, Vivienne Westwood’s most iconic moments

British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has died aged 81.

The news was announced on December 29, 2022 by her family, who confirmed in a statement that she had died “peacefully and surrounded by her family” at their home in Clapham, south-west London.

Following the announcement, Westwood’s husband and creative partner Andreas Kronthaler said: “I will continue with Vivienne in my heart.

“We worked to the end and she gave me a lot of things to go on with.”

Malcolm McLaren
Malcolm McLaren (1946-2010) center in front of an installation of Sex Pistols ephemera, including t-shirts, he designed with Vivienne Westwood, at the opening ceremony of his exhibition at the New Museum of Contemporary Art entitled ‘Impresario: Malcolm McLaren and the British New Wave” on September 14, 1988 in New York City, New York.
Catherine McGann/Getty Images

Often referred to as the “Queen of British Fashion”, Westwood is credited with bringing modern punk and new wave fashion into the mainstream and supporting sustainability in fashion.

She also used her designs to promote many political causes such as campaigning for nuclear disarmament, climate change, and civil rights groups.

From punk to prosecutors news week took a look at Vivienne Westwood’s most iconic moments.

Vivienne Westwood’s most iconic moments

1. Punk fashion and sex

In 1971, young fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and her then-partner Malcolm McLaren opened a small boutique called “Let it Rock” at 430 Kings Road, Chelsea, in London.

A year later, they rebranded the store to accommodate more biker-inspired clothing, naming the store “Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die”.

Westwood and McLaren began printing provocative slogans on their own T-shirts, and in 1974 they renamed Too Fast to Live SEX.

SEX became known for fusing fashion with the British punk scene. The McLaren and Westwood designs were worn by the band that managed McLaren, the Sex Pistols.

2. Law Enforcement

In 1975 Westwood and McLaren were fined for an “indecent display” at their SEX store on King’s Road. According to Westwood’s website, they were also prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act 1959, which made the publication of “obscene” material a criminal offense and gave police the power to confiscate items they deemed explicit.

In response, McClaren and Westwood produced even more T-shirts that featured even more hardcore and political imagery.

Vivienne Westwood from the 1970s
British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood outside Bow Street Magistrate’s Court where she faced a breach of the peace.
Peter Cade/Getty Images

3. Margaret Thatcher Tatler cover

In April 1989, Westwood appeared on the cover of Tatler, disguised as Britain’s then Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She was wearing an aquascutum suit that had been ordered for Thatcher but had not yet been delivered.

The caption on the cover read, “This Woman Was Once a Punk” and was written in torn newsprint, Sex Pistols style.

Reflecting on the iconic cover in a conversation with the independent, Westwood described the costume as “the craziest thing” she’s ever worn.

4. Westwood’s OBE

After receiving her OBE, a British honor, from Queen Elizabeth II in 1992, Westwood showed off her outfit to photographers outside.

Westwood’s skirt twirled to reveal she was wearing nothing underneath but sheer pantyhose.

Speak with The guard About the famous pictures, Westwood explained that she just wanted to show her outfit.

She said: “It never occurred to me that the result would be more glamorous than I expected as the photographers were practically on their knees.”

“I heard the picture amuses the queen,” she added.

5. The MacAndreas clan

In 1993, Westwood created her own tartan for her fall/winter 1993/94 collection “Anglomania” and invented her own clan, MacAndreas.

The clan was named after her husband and design partner Andreas Kronthaler.

The Lochcarron of Scotland officially recognized the clan, a process that normally takes 200 years, and they were placed on the Scottish Register of Tartans.

For her spring-summer 2023 collection, the MacAndreas tartan has been revived and now features on polo shirts, dresses, skirts and knitwear.

Andreas Kronthaler Bella Hadid and Vivienne Westwood
(LR) Andreas Kronthaler, Bella Hadid and Vivienne Westwood walk the runway during the Vivienne Westwood show as part of Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2020/2021 on February 29, 2020 in Paris, France.
Peter White/Getty Images

6. David Cameron protests

In 2015, Westwood drove a tank to the Oxfordshire home of then British Prime Minister David Cameron to protest fracking (the practice of extracting gas by drilling into underground rock).

She said: “Cameron accuses foreign leaders like President Gaddafi and President Assad of allegedly using chemicals against their own people as justification for regime change.

Vivienne Westwood protests
Fashion designer and environmental activist Vivienne Westwood rides on an armored personnel carrier (APC) to Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron’s home in Chadlington, Oxfordshire September 11, 2015 to highlight the government’s plan to use hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract fossil fuels from the ground in regions of northern England. The vehicle was parked outside the prime minister’s house before a group of protesters in gas masks led chants and held banners calling on the government to change policy on the controversial plans.
LEON NEAL/AFP via Getty Images

“But he’s doing just that here in the UK, forcing toxic, life-threatening fracking chemicals on his own people against the advice of his own chief scientist.
“It is time for regime change in Britain. Cameron plans to force homeowners to abandon their land and endure fracking beneath their homes. The British have no choice but to fight back,” she said The guard.

Her protest came after an announcement by the Cameron government that it would offer licenses to frack at 27 sites in the UK

In 2014, she tried to bring Cameron a Christmas card and a box of asbestos to raise awareness of the dangers of fracking.

7. Support for Julian Assange

At the age of 79, Westwood showed her support for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange outside the Old Bailey court in London.

For seven years, Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, fighting his extradition to Sweden to be interrogated in a case that was later dropped. British police finally arrested him in 2019 and the US requested his extradition to face 18 charges including espionage. Westwood was one of his staunchest supporters during this time.

During London Fashion Week 2012, she began wearing a black and white t-shirt that read “I Am Julian Assange” and gave it out to attendees at her Spring 2013 runway show.

Dame Vivienne Westwood Julien Assange
Dame Vivienne Westwood sits in a giant birdcage during a protest against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Old Bailey on July 21, 2020 in London, England. Dame Vivienne Westwood, returning to public life for the first time after 16 weeks in isolation during the COVID-19 lockdown, is hung in a giant birdcage outside the Old Bailey Criminal Court by Julian Assange in protest at extradition to the US .
Karwai Tang/WireImage)

For years she visited Assange after his arrest in April 2019 in the Ecuadorian embassy and in Belmarsh prison.

In July 2020, Westwood, wearing a bright yellow suit and black combat boots, climbed into a giant birdcage and hovered ten feet in the air to protest Assange’s extradition to the United States

Westwood called into a microphone, “I’m the canary in the coal mine. If I kill the coal mine with toxic gas, that will be the signal for all miners to leave,” he reported W Magazine.

Assange is currently being held in Belmarsh Prison. Assange’s wife Stella paid tribute to Westwood on her husband’s behalf after announcing her death, saying Westwood was a “good friend” and “the best thing in Britain”. From punk to prosecutors, Vivienne Westwood’s most iconic moments

Rick Schindler

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