British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood dies at 81

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood walks the runway in Paris in 2014. The punk legend has died at the age of 81. Photo/Getty Images

Dame Vivienne Westwood, the innovative British fashion designer who brought punk style and spirit from the street to the catwalk, has died at the age of 81.

Her fashion house announced her death on Twitter, saying Westwood died peacefully at her home in London, surrounded by her family.

“December 29, 2022. Vivienne Westwood died today, peacefully and surrounded by family, in Clapham, South London,” they wrote.

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

The ad was accompanied by a quote from Westwood and a simple message from the fashion house that bears her name: “Vivienne, we love you.”

Westwood’s quote read: “Tao spiritual system. Today there was never more need for the Tao. Tao gives you the feeling that you belong to the cosmos and gives your life purpose; It gives you such a sense of identity and strength to know that you are living the life that you can live and therefore should be living: make full use of your character and full use of your life on earth.”

In a statement, Westwood’s husband and creative partner Andreas Kronthaler said he would continue his work.

“I will continue with Vivienne in my heart. We have been working to the end and she has given me a lot to keep going.

“Thanks sweetie.”

Tributes flowed from around the world after the news of Westwood’s death was announced.

Westwood’s fashion career began in the 1970s with the punk explosion, when his radical approach to urban street style took the world by storm. But she went on to enjoy a long career highlighted by a series of triumphant parades in London, Paris, Milan and New York.

The Westwood name became synonymous with style and attitude even as it changed focus from year to year. His range was wide and his work was never predictable.

Advertisement

Advertise with NZME.

As her stature grew, she seemed to transcend fashion. Her designs were displayed in museum collections around the world. The young woman who had scorned the British establishment eventually became one of her leading figures, and she used her elite position to lobby for environmental reforms even as she kept her hair dyed the bright shade of orange that became in her trademark.

– Additional reporting, Associated Press