, 2022-12-30 18:45:37,
With some help from the Sex Pistols, British youths hungry for anarchy, and influences including Teddy Boy
subculture and fetishists, Vivienne Westwood helped develop punk
as a style, an ethos and a movement.
The British designer, who died this week at 81
, became one of the UK’s most revered style icons
. But before she dressed supermodels and constructed romantic corsets, she ripped up fashion’s rule book for a new generation of disillusioned changemakers.
The punk style for which Westwood became known in the 1970s was born out of her relationship with Malcolm McLaren, her partner at the time. Westwood said years later that she didn’t want to be a designer but made clothes out of necessity in her teens and when she was asked by McLaren to outfit the new band he was managing, the Sex Pistols.
Their relationship was fraught — Westwood would later accuse McLaren of abuse
— but ultimately forged one of the most influential (and shortest-lived) bands in music and an oft-imitated style.
Westwood (right) with then-partner, Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. Credit: Bill Kennedy/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
The Sex Pistols’ history is intertwined with Westwood’s King’s Road boutique, then called SEX. It sold Westwood’s handmade festish clothing and employed burgeoning fashion iconoclasts like Jordan
and musicians like Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders
. It’s where Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and friends hung out and where the band auditioned a…
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