News of the British designer’s death was announced on Thursday evening in a post shared on her official social media accounts, which confirmed she had died earlier that day “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.” the post read.
“Her innovation and impact over the last 60 years has been immense and will continue into the future. The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better.”
Victoria Beckham, Boy George, Naomi Campbell and fellow designer Marc Jacobs were among the first famous names to pay tribute to the fashion icon on social media...
Victoria Beckham pays tribute to Vivienne Westwood
Dame Vivienne, who was born in Cheshire in 1941, is largely accepted as being responsible for bringing punk and new wave fashion into the mainstream with her eccentric creations.
Her designs were regularly worn by high-profile individuals including Dita Von Teese who wore a purple Westwood wedding gown to marry Marilyn Manson, and Princess Eugenie who wore three Westwood designs for various elements of the wedding of William and Kate Middleton.
Dame Vivienne’s designs also featured in the 2008 film adaptation of Sex And The City, starring Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw.
In addition to her work as a designer, Dame Vivienne was vocal in her support of a number of social and political initiatives including campaigning for the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is fighting to avoid being sent to the US to face charges under the Espionage Act.
The self-styled queen of punk always injected controversy into the fashion industry with her risque creations.
The designer was largely responsible for anti-establishment punk fashion and became known for her subversive and eccentric take on traditional British style.
She and McLaren, one-time manager of punk band the Sex Pistols, opened the shop called Let It Rock – also known as Sex – in the early 1970s where she began selling her outrageous outfits.
The punk style included bondage gear, safety pins, razor blades, bicycle or lavatory chains and spiked dog collars.
Dame Vivienne Westwood
The style icon caused a stir in 1992 when she collected her OBE from the Queen minus her underwear and twirled round in the courtyard to reveal all.
In 2006 when she was made a Dame, she opted again not to wear knickers and went to Buckingham Palace wearing a pair of silver horns.
Describing her outfit on the day – a black cap perched on the back of vibrant orange hair and a black dress with campaign badges and the tiny horns on her head – she said it showed her as an urban guerrilla and a Che Guevara figure.
She explained: “I’m supposed to be a bit like a Che Guevara – an urban guerrilla, with my cap, this kind of jungle net and a badge for my Active Resistance to Propaganda campaign.”
Some of her best-known creations include the Mini Crini, bustle-skirts, bondage trousers and 12-inch platform shoes, the type which famously tripped up supermodel Naomi Campbell.
She developed the idea of underwear as outerwear, and Madonna’s legendary conical bra worn on her Blonde Ambition tour, designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, would probably never have happened if not for Westwood.
She also transformed the corset from a symbol of female repression to one of power and sexual freedom.