Vivienne Westwood – Bio, Death, Husband, Age, Family, Career, Awards

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Vivienne Westwood was a British fashion designer and businesswoman. She was famed after she made clothes for the boutique that she and Malcolm McLaren ran on King’s Road, which became known as SEX. Their ability to synthesize clothing and music shaped the 1970s UK punk scene, which was dominated by McLaren’s band, the Sex Pistols. She was also known for revolutionalizing the fashion industry by creating products that encapsulate the essence of both modern punk and new wave.

In a career span of over 34 years, she is one of the most influential and respected designers in the fashion industry. She has also designed for British Royalty including Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the second wife of the Prince of Wales, Charles, and Princess Eugenie of York. Moreover, she designed for actress Cameron Diaz and artist Tracey Emin. Her label “The Vivienne Westwood” has been launched across various countries. She also had her own range of perfumes, accessories, and a wide array of other merchandise. 

What was Vivienne Westwood Known For?

  • Vivienne Westwood was a British fashion designer. 
  • Vivienne was known for bringing modern punk and new-wave fashions into the mainstream. 

Fashion designer, Vivienne Westwood dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood died in Clapham, London, on 29th December 2022, at the age of 81. She passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, at her home in London on Thursday, according to an official statement from her eponymous company. To the media, she was “the high priestess of punk” and the “Queen of Extreme.” To the fashion world, she was a beloved character who energized and pushed the boundaries of the industry until her death.

The former co-leader of the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said of Westwood: “Such a legend, a huge inspiration, brilliantly creative and always a committed activist for people and planet – my thoughts are with her family and friends – RIP.” Model Bella Hadid described the designer as the most “epic human being that has walked this earth… my inspiration and idol in all things”. In an Instagram post with photos of the pair together, Hadid wrote: “Dearest Vivienne, Queen of punk, From the first day I met you to the last day I saw you, you made me smile, listen, learn and love more than the day before.

Fashion Designer, Vivienne Westwood Dies At 81

Who are Vivienne Westwood’s Parents?

Vivienne Westwood was born on April 8, 1941, with the birth name of Vivienne Isabel Swire in Tintwistle, Derbyshire, England. She was the daughter of Gordon Swire, a greengrocer & storekeeper, and Dora Swire. Her parents married two years previously, two weeks after the outbreak of the Second World War. She held British nationality and her ethnicity was British-White. Aries was his zodiac sign and she had a belief in the Christianity religion. For the last time, she celebrated her 81st birthday in 2022. 

For her education, she graduated from the Glossop Grammar School in 1958, when her family relocated to London. She attended the Harrow School of Art at Westminster University, where she studied fashion and silversmithing for a term. Soon she dropped out because, in her words, “I didn’t know how a working-class girl like me could possibly make a living in the art world”. After she left college, she went on to work at a factory and later attended a teacher’s training college and subsequently became a primary school teacher.

How did Vivienne Westwood start her career?

  • Vivienne Westwood continued to teach until 1971 and also created clothes that Malcolm McLaren designed. McLaren then became the manager of the punk band “Sex Pistols”. The two gained attention as the band wore Westwood’s and McLaren’s designs. She also co-managed the boutique with Malcolm McLaren at 430 King’s Road, London between 1974 and 1976.
  • Vivienne was one of the architects of the punk fashion phenomenon of the 1970s, saying “I was messianic about punk, seeing if one could put a spoke in the system in some way”.
  • Her first fashion collection to be shown to the media and potential international buyers was “Pirate”. Their partnership produced collections in Paris and London with the thematic titles Savages (shown late 1981), Buffalo/Nostalgia Of Mud (shown spring 1982), Punkature (shown late 1982), Witches (shown early 1983), and Worlds End 1984 (later renamed Hypnos, shown late 1983). After then, their partnership dissolved. She showed one more collection under the Worlds End label: “Clint Eastwood” (late 1984–early 1985). 
  • From 1985 to 1987, she took inspiration from the ballet Petrushka to design the mini-crini, an abbreviated version of the Victorian crinoline.
  • In 1990, she launched her own exclusive line of a complete menswear collection, and the same year she opened “The Vivienne Westwood shop” in London. After a couple of years, she started designing wedding gowns and also worked with the watch company “Swatch” for which she designed a watch collection named “Putti”. She collaborated with “Swatch” for the second time in 1993 and created “Orb”, which is an exclusive range of watches. 
  • In 1999, she opened her first store in New York as well as she launched her line of eyewear and the “Coquetteries” collection, a line of toiletries and body products. She showcased her collection titled Vivienne Westwood: the collection of Romilly McAlpine at The Museum of London in the year 2000. She also launched her own fragrance called, Libertine in the same year. 
  • She opened a store and an accessories shop in Hong Kong in 2002 and opened her store in Milan and Liverpool in 2003. From November 2004 to January 2005, her retrospective show called “Vivienne Westwood – 34 years in fashion” was showcased at The National Gallery of Australia.
  • In the year 2006, she collaborated with Nine West, a shoe brand. In 2009, she designed for Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, the second wife of the Prince of Wales, Charles. Camilla wore her designs to the royal Ascot, a major race event in Britain. 
  • Her designs were featured in the 2008 film adaptation of the television series “Sex and the City”. 
  • In 2011, she designed for Princess Eugenie of York, who wore her designs at the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. In July 2011, her collections were presented at The Brandery fashion show in Barcelona. She had worked closely with Richard Branson to design uniforms for the Virgin Atlantic crew. 
  • In 2012, she worked with The Woolmark Company, for whom she created a twelve-piece luxury collection that was made from some of the finest wool procured from Australia. In the same year, she was chosen as one of The New Elizabethans to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
  • She was featured in a Canadian-made television documentary called Vivienne Westwood’s London in January 2011. 
  • In October 2014, the authorized biography Vivienne Westwood by Ian Kelly was published by Picador.
  • In the year 2016, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York acquired a Tit’s t-shirt, designed by McLaren and sold at Seditionaries between 1976 and 1980.
  • In 2018, a documentary film about Westwood called Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, premiered. After a year, Isabel Sanches Vegara wrote and Laura Callaghan illustrated “Vivienne Westwood”, one of the series, “Little People, Big Dreams”, published by Frances Lincoln Publishing.

Vivienne Westwood Awards and Achievements

  • Awarded an OBE, which she collected from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 1992
  • Advanced from OBE to DBE in the 2006 New Year’s Honours List “for services to fashion”
  • Earned the award for British Designer of the Year on three occasions
  • Awarded a Fellowship at King’s College London in 2007
  • Heriot-Watt University awarded Westwood an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters for her contribution to the industry and use of Scottish textiles in 2008
  • Chosen as one of The New Elizabethans to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2012

Who was Vivienne Westwood’s Husband?

Vivienne Westwood married Austrian creative director and design partner, Andreas Kronthaler in 1992. For 30 years, Westwood lived in an ex-council flat in Nightingale Lane, Clapham, until, in 2000, Kronthaler convinced her to move into a Queen Anne-style house in Clapham, that was built in 1703, and which once belonged to the mother of Captain Cook. They remained together until her death in December 2022.

Vivienne Westwood and her husband, Andreas Kronthaler

Vivienne Westwood first married Derek Westwood on July 21, 1962. She met a hoover factory apprentice in 1962. She self-made her wedding dress and the couple was blessed with a son named Benjamin (Ben) Westwood in 1963. They divorced in 1965 after she started going out with Malcolm McLaren who is an impresario, clothes designer, and boutique owner. They used to live in a council flat in Clapham. The duo is blessed with a son named Joseph Corré in 1967. 

How much was Vivienne Westwood’s Net Worth?

Vivienne Westwood was a fashion designer and businesswoman who had made a huge fortune from her professional career. The net worth of Vivienne was around $50 million at the time of her death. Before her successful career in the industry, she did a few jobs, including her time at a factory and in a teacher-training college. She also designed her jewelry at the time.

After she met Malcolm McLauren, the duo became well-known after McLaren became the manager of Sex Pistols and the band started using clothes designed by them. The pair’s fashion collection Pirate was the first to be displayed for the media and buyers. They continued to create more collections like Savages, Buffalo/Nostalgia of Mud, Punkature, and more. Later, their collaboration ended. She designed gowns and hoods for King’s College London students during the graduation ceremony. Her designs were used by well-known personalities such as Dita Von Tesse, Marion Cotillard, Princess Eugenie, and Pharrell Williams. Her designs were also used in the 2008 romantic comedy film Sex and the City.

She also made a decent sum of money through her writing career as she authored several books, including Fashion in Art: The Second Empire and Impressionism and Vivienne Westwood Opus 2008 limited edition. In 2014, Westwood became an ambassador for the clean energy Trillion Fund. She lived a lavish lifestyle during her lifetime. 

In August 2011, Westwood’s company Vivienne Westwood Ltd agreed to pay almost £350,000 in tax to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for significantly underestimating the value of her brand. Her UK business had sold the rights to her trademarks to Luxembourg-based Latimo, which she controlled, for £840,000 in 2002. 

How tall was Vivienne Westwood?

Vivienne Westwood had a slim body build and had a tall height of 5 ft 5 in or 165 cm. Her body weight consists of 52 kg or 114.5 lbs. She had gray hair color with a pair of green eyes. She had a perennial flame hairdo with deep eyes. 

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