, 2022-12-30 00:24:24,
Without Vivienne Westwood, there would be no British fashion. Such is the legacy of the designer, who passed away on Thursday at 81. Over a career that spanned more than half a century, Westwood was the patron saint of British fashion’s innate weirdness—the guardian of its thrust, its non-conformity, its punk. Without Westwood, there’d be no Alexander McQueen, no Charles Jeffrey. London Fashion Week wouldn’t enjoy its status as the fun one on the international scene. Westwood’s death is British fashion’s loss.
Westwood was born in rural Derbyshire to greengrocer parents, and moved with her family to Harrow in 1958 before taking a jewelry course. She was working class—proudly so—and supported herself through her studies with jobs as a factory technician and a primary school teacher. It was only when Westwood helmed her own Portobello Road stall in North West London—then a hotbed of counter-culture and music—that her own aesthetic came into being. She made fashion and accessories outside the world of fashion and accessories: her work was subversive, and, for a socially conservative United Kingdom, alien.
Westwood’s marriage to the impresario Malcolm McLaren, her second, helped bring her designs to the world stage. McLaren would eventually manage the Sex Pistols, and those spitting, raucous godfathers of punk were ready-and-waiting models for Westwood’s anarchic clothes. The tartan? The safety pins? The Freddy Krueger in kindergarten knits? That was all…
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