- 30 Dec 22
"Fashion produces far too many great designers who can’t see beyond their next collection and whose political views become increasingly reprehensible, the more successful they become. In contrast, Vivienne Westwood will be remembered as one of those designers who saw the bigger picture. She went against the grain. She blew inhibitions sky high. She changed the way people looked."
Since the announcement of Vivienne Westwood's passing yesterday, tributes have flooded in from a world in mourning.
The late designer solidified her trademark couture and irreverence for the fashion establishment through her androgynous designs, and bringing punk fashion to the forefront of 1970's mainstream apparel.
Deeply saddened by a true punk’s passing, Vivienne Westwood, what a hellraiser, what a talent. #VivienneWestwood #angelofdemocracy pic.twitter.com/MfFjwyApJO
— Rose✨McGowan (@rosemcgowan) December 29, 2022
R.I.P to the great and inspiring Vivienne Westwood who lead us through punk and beyond.
Laughed at by the fashion industry but without question she is the undisputed Queen of British fashion. I love you! Oh bondage up yours! pic.twitter.com/O6RZqpEVLq
— Boy George (@BoyGeorge) December 29, 2022
https://t.co/pLAvvpyMWr #VivienneWestwood RIP it will take me a bit to take this in…
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) December 29, 2022
Westwood was well known for her out-spoken campaigning and often used fashion as a medium in which to convey them.
She once dressed up as then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher for a 1989 magazine cover, and when protesting fracking, drove a white tank near the country home of former prime minister, David Cameron.
Also remembering Vivienne Westwood, Hot Press editor Niall Stokes had this to say: "I remember meeting Vivienne Westwood at World’s End, the boutique she set up on the King’s Road in London with her partner Malcolm McLaren. The punk era was still in full flood. He was managing the Sex Pistols and she was at the centre of the parallel explosion that had hit fashion at the time.
World’s End was a great space – the floor was tilted so that you never really felt fully secure as you scoured the racks. And the clock was going backwards to further emphasise the intended sense of disorientation.
Vivienne was a really striking woman, fiercely intelligent looking and with a shock of blond curls. She seemed forbidding. But she was also the kind of person you wanted to know better – who seemed to offer the gateway into another, different and altogether more exciting world. There was a devil may care, dystopian kind of flamboyance in the air at World’s End, and an aura of unrepentant, in your face sexuality that would have been considered deviant. Which of course only made it seem all the more intriguing.
She also made great clothes. I know someone who still has a dress of hers from that era and it has stood the test of time incredibly well. It was well made. And the look has lasted. It remains both highly distinctive and wearable – surely the measure of great designer clothes.
I wasn’t at all surprised that Vivienne became so passionate about the future of the planet, or that she had tilted so far to the left. In a sense she was originally a hippy turned entrepreneur. She just reverted to her more radical, youthful, art-school view of the world and how it works. She used her eminence and her celebrity to highlight vital issues and causes. Having seen her operating from the early days, that made a lot of sense. She was a rebel at heart.
Her great legacy is, of course, in fashion. She was one of the outstanding figures of what we probably still have a right to think of as the modern era. But fashion produces far too many great designers who can’t see beyond their next collection and whose political views become increasingly reprehensible, the more successful they become. In contrast, Vivienne Westwood will be remembered as one of those designers who saw the bigger picture. She went against the grain. She blew inhibitions sky high. She changed the way people looked. But she also a vita part of a movement that helped to change the way we thought – about ourselves but also about one another, and ultimately about society.
The old Irish phrase springs to mind: “Ní fheichimíd a leithéad arís.” We’ll not see her like again. Vivienne Westwood was a true original."