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Vivienne Westwood, iconic style designer, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential vogue maverick who performed a crucial function in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.

Westwood’s eponymous fashion home introduced her dying on social media platforms, indicating she died peacefully. A induce of death was not disclosed in the assertion.

Westwood’s manner profession commenced in the 1970s with the punk explosion, when her radical technique to urban road style took the world by storm. But she went on to love a extended profession highlighted by a string of triumphant runway shows in London, Paris, Milan and New York.

The identify Westwood turned synonymous with design and style and mind-set even as she shifted aim from year to 12 months. Her array was broad and her do the job was never predictable.

As her stature grew, she seemed to transcend fashion, with her patterns shown in museum collections during the entire world. The youthful girl who experienced scorned the British institution eventually grew to become a single of its major lights, and she made use of her elite position to lobby for environmental reforms even as she retained her hair dyed the bright shade of orange that grew to become her trademark.

Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood watches rehearsals forward of her demonstrate during London Trend Week at Royal Faculty of Surgeons on Feb. 21, 2016 in London, England.

John Phillips / Getty Photographs

Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, explained Westwood would be celebrated for revolutionary the punk seem, pairing a radical manner method with the anarchic punk sounds created by the Sexual intercourse Pistols, managed by her then-lover, Malcolm McLaren.

“They gave the punk motion a appear, a design, and it was so radical it broke from anything in the previous,” he mentioned. “The ripped shirts, the basic safety pins, the provocative slogans. She released postmodernism. It was so influential from the mid-70s. The punk movement has under no circumstances dissipated — it can be turn out to be component of our style vocabulary. It really is mainstream now.”

Westwood’s long vocation was total of contradictions: She was a lifelong rebel who was honored various instances by Queen Elizabeth II. She dressed like a teenager even in her 60s and became an outspoken advocate of fighting world-wide warming, warning of planetary doom if climate alter was not managed.

In her punk days, Westwood’s apparel had been often intentionally shocking: T-shirts adorned with drawings of bare boys, and “bondage pants” with sadomasochistic overtones were being common fare in her common London retailers. But Westwood was able to make the changeover from punk to haute couture without having lacking a defeat, trying to keep her occupation going with no stooping to self-caricature.

“She was always seeking to reinvent manner. Her function is provocative, it is transgressive. It’s quite substantially rooted in the English custom of pastiche and irony and satire. She is very proud of her Englishness, and even now she sends it up,” Bolton claimed.

A person of these transgressive and contentious patterns featured a swastika, an inverted graphic of Jesus Christ on the cross and the term “Demolish.” In an autobiography prepared with Ian Kelly, she reported it was meant as element of a statement in opposition to politicians torturing people, citing Chile’s Augusto Pinochet. When questioned if she regretted the swastika style and design in a 2009 interview with Time journal, Westwood stated no.

“I do not, since we have been just saying to the older technology, ‘We really don’t take your values or your taboos, and you happen to be all fascists,'” she responded.

She approached her work with gusto in her early a long time, but in excess of time seemed to tire of the clamor and buzz. Following decades of coming up with, she often spoke wistfully of relocating over and above trend so she could concentrate on environmental matters and educational projects.

“Fashion can be so dull,” she explained to The Linked Press following unveiling 1 of her new collections at a 2010 present. “I’m making an attempt to come across some thing else to do.” At the time, she was speaking up designs to begin a tv collection about art and science.