British punk fashion designer Vivienne Westwood dies at 81

© Thomas Samson, AFP

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.

Westwood's eponymous fashion house announced her death on social media platforms, saying she died peacefully. A cause of death was not disclosed.

Westwood’s fashion career began in the 1970s with the punk explosion, when her radical approach to urban street style took the world by storm. But she went on to enjoy a long career highlighted by a string of triumphant runway shows in London, Paris, Milan and New York.

The name Westwood became synonymous with style and attitude even as she shifted focus from year to year. Her range was vast and her work was never predictable.

As her stature grew, she seemed to transcend fashion, with her designs shown in museum collections throughout the world. The young woman who had scorned the British establishment eventually became one of its leading lights, and she used her elite position to lobby for environmental reforms even as she kept her hair dyed the bright shade of orange that became her trademark.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, Reuters)


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