Death of Vivienne Westwood inspires chorus of tributes for one of South London’s most flamboyant figures

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood – an icon of the industry with deep South London roots – has died at the age of 81.

Dame Westwood died peacefully in Clapham, surrounded by her family, according to her Twitter account.

It read: “The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better.”

Andreas Kronthaler and Vivienne Westwood attending the Fashion Awards in association with Swarovski held at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore (Picture: PA)

Her husband Andreas Kronthaler, who has also been her creative partner, said: “I will continue with Vivienne in my heart. We have been working until the end and she has given me plenty of things to get on with.”

Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said: “Vivienne Westwood was and will remain a towering figure in British fashion.

“Her punk style rewrote the rule book in the 1970s and was widely admired for how she stayed true to her own values throughout her life.”

The Victoria and Albert Museum, a home for exhibits of fashion trends through the ages described her as: “A true revolutionary and rebellious force in fashion.”

The flamboyant designer made a name for herself in the punk era, creating androgynous designs and slogan t-shirts.

She became associated with the Sex Pistols ban through her relationship with ex-husband Malcolm McLaren, the band’s producer. The pair ran a boutique on the King’s Road, Chelsea called SEX.

She opened four shops in London and eventually expanded throughout Britain and the world.

Her clothes were worn by many high-profile people like Dita Von Tesse, who wore a purple Westwood gown to her wedding with Marilyn Manson, and Princess Eugenie, who was attired in some of her creations during parts of the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton.

Film star Marion Cotillard and the musician Pharrell Williams have also embraced some of her creations and her designs were showcased in the 2008 film Sex and the City – a spin-off of the Tv series.

Tributes from the music and fashion world have also been pouring in. Boy George called her “the undisputed Queen of British fashion. ” Supermodel Claudia Schiffer said Westwood’s “unique voice will be irreplaceable and will be missed.”

Westwood campaigned for the release of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, clad in a yellow canary outfit inside a giant bird cage. She was also a fierce campaigner for nuclear disarmament, climate change and civil rights.

Picture: Dame Vivienne Westwood backstage at the Vivienne Westwood Autumn/Winter 2019 London Fashion Week (Picture: PA)

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