Celebrities have paid tribute to Dame Vivienne Westwood, with the world described as “already a less interesting place” following her death at the age of 81.
The pioneering designer made a name for herself on the fashion scene in the 1970s, with her androgynous designs, slogan tees and irreverent attitude towards the establishment.
Dame Vivienne died Thursday “peacefully and surrounded by her family in Clapham, south London,” her representatives said.
The Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde, who worked at the Westwood and Malcolm McLaren boutique in the early days of punk, has sent her love to her deceased friend.
“Vivienne is gone and the world is already a less interesting place. Love you Viv,” Hynde tweeted.
Model Bella Hadid described the designer as “the most epic human being to walk this earth… my inspiration and idol in all things.”
In an Instagram post featuring photos of the couple 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.
“I will forever be grateful to have been in your orbit, because to me and to most, in fashion and humanity, you, Vivienne, were the sun.
“To the coolest, funniest, amazing, humble, creative, badass, smart, fucking epic human being to walk this earth… my inspiration and idol in all things… rest in love and rest in peace… I will miss you.”
In an earlier statement, Dame Vivienne’s husband and creative partner, Andreas Kronthaler, said: “I will continue with Vivienne in my heart.
“We worked our way through to the end and she gave me a lot of stuff to move forward with. Thanks, honey.”
Her representatives’ statement added: “Vivienne continued to do the things she loved, right up to the very last moment, designing, working on her art, writing her book and changing the world for the better.
“He led an extraordinary life.
“Its innovation and impact over the past 60 years has been immense and will continue into the future.”
He also said that the Vivienne Foundation, a non-profit company founded by Dame Vivienne, her children and granddaughter in late 2022, will launch next year to “honour, protect and continue the legacy of life, design and of Vivienne’s activism ”.
Dame Vivienne, born in Cheshire in 1941, is widely credited with bringing punk and new wave fashion into the mainstream with her eccentric creations.
His designs were regularly worn by high-profile individuals including Dita Von Teese who wore a purple Westwood wedding dress to marry Marilyn Manson and Princess Eugenie who wore three Westwood designs for various elements of William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.
Dame Vivienne’s designs are also featured in the 2008 film adaptation of Sex And The City, starring Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw.
In addition to her work as a designer, Dame Vivienne has expressed her support for a number of social and political initiatives, including campaigning for the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is fighting to avoid being sent to the US to deal with charges under the Espionage Act.
Stella Assange, whose wedding dress for the Aussie was designed by Dame Vivienne, paid tribute to her as a “pillar of the anti-establishment”.
“Vivienne was a Dame and a pillar of the anti-establishment. Bold, creative, thoughtful and a good friend. The best of Britain. She will be terribly missed by me and many others,” Assange wrote on behalf of her husband.
In his tribute to Dame Vivienne, Assange said: “Vivienne was a rebel at heart. Julian and I loved her company. Her gift to us really took our wedding to the next level, so there was a lot of attention and she had this incredible knack for images and messages.
“Our wonderful friend Vivienne Westwood has passed away. A fierce activist and true altruist, she fought for #FreeAssange and the future of humanity. Vivienne, you remain an inspiration. Your greatness will live on.”
American fashion designer Marc Jacobs said he was “heartbroken” at the news of his death, writing in an Instagram post: “You did it first. All time. Incredible style with brilliant and meaningful substance.
“I continue to learn from your words and all your amazing creations. I will always remember the night we bonded over our mutual love of Yves Saint Laurent.
“You have never failed to surprise and shock. I am grateful for the moments I got to share with you and Andreas.
“Rest in peace dear Vivienne, even if somehow peace seems like the wrong word.”
The self-styled queen of punk has always caused controversy in the fashion industry with her risqué creations.
The designer was largely responsible for anti-establishment punk fashion and became known for her subversive and eccentric take on traditional British style.
She and McLaren, onetime manager of the punk band Sex Pistols, opened the shop where Hynde worked called Let It Rock — also known as Sex — in the early 1970s where she began selling her outrageous outfits.
Punk style included bondage gear, safety pins, razor blades, bicycle or toilet chains, and spiked dog collars.
The style icon caused a stir in 1992 when she collected her OBE from the Queen sans her underwear and took a walk around the courtyard to reveal all.
In 2006, when she was made a Dame, she again decided not to wear knickers and went to Buckingham Palace wearing a pair of silver horns.
Describing her attire that day — a black beret perched on the back of vibrant orange hair and a black dress with campaign badges and little horns on her head — she said it showed her as an urban guerrilla and a Che Guevara figure.
He explained: “I’m supposed to be a bit like a Che Guevara: an urban guerrilla, with my cap, this kind of jungle net and a badge for my Active Resistance to Propaganda campaign.”
Some of her best-known creations include Mini Crines, bustle skirts, bondage pants, and 12-inch platform shoes, the kind that famously tripped supermodel Naomi Campbell.
He developed the idea of underwear as outerwear, and Madonna’s legendary conical bra worn on her Blonde Ambition tour, designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, probably never would have happened if it weren’t for Westwood.
She also transformed the corset from a symbol of female repression to a symbol of sexual power and freedom.
After becoming a primary school teacher, she quit her job to become a punk fashion seamstress and set up her own shop on Chelsea’s Kings Road with her then-partner McLaren.
The Sex Pistols wore the shop’s clothes to their first concert and Westwood’s first runway show was presented at London’s Olympia in March 1981.