British designer and fashion icon Dame Vivienne Westwood passed away at the age of 81 on Thursday, December 29 in London. The news was announced in an official statement from her eponymous brand via social media.
The statement is accompanied by a quote from the designer:
“Tao spiritual system. There was never more need for the Tao today. Tao gives you a feeling that you belong to the cosmos and gives purpose to your life; it gives you such a sense of identity and strength to know you’re living the life you can live and therefore ought to be living: make full use of your character and full use of your life on earth.”
Vivienne Westwood was born in Derbyshire, England, the daughter of a factory worker and cotton weaver. She briefly attended Harrow Art College, where she studied fashion and silversmithing. She later trained to become a primary school teacher.
A key figure in the world of fashion design, Westwood rose to fame in the seventies through its provocative and rebellious designs, considered to be the first to bring punk into the fashion scene, when she started designing in 1971 with her then partner Malcolm McLaren in London at their Let it Rock store at 430 Kings Road.
Her contribution to British fashion was officially recognized in 2006 when she was made a Dame of the British Empire by the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Westwood not only made reference to history and culture through her clothes, but in her later years she also started to get involved as an activist, highlighting in her collections the support of nuclear disarmament and encouraging people to inform themselves about the current environmental and climate situation, as she famously said ” “Buy Less, Choose Well, Make it Last” “.
Brands and designers such as Burberry Jacquemus, Bianca Saunders, Victoria Beckham, and Pierpaolo Piccioli paid their tributes to the sad news. Celebrities around the world, such as Kim Cattrall and Kurumi Nakata, also paid tribute to the British designer.