Dame Vivienne Westwood died on December 29, 2022, at the age of 81.
Westwood was one of the most iconic designers in British history, and she was a punk icon.
She famously skipped underwear when she met the royal family, two separate times.
Vivienne Westwood was a schoolteacher before she became a successful designer.
Westwood grew up just outside of Glossop in Derbyshire, England. She studied at the Harrow School of Art and the University of Westminster, according to The Business of Fashion. She lasted for one semester, studying fashion and silver-smithing, before dropping out to focus on work.
"I didn't know how a working-class girl like me could possibly make a living in the art world," she reportedly said.
Instead, she became an elementary school teacher and designed jewelry in her free time. By the 1970s, she was making a living selling her designs.
She died on Thursday, aged 81. In a Twitter statement, Westwood's reps said she passed away "peacefully and surrounded by her family" in Clapham, South London.
"The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better," the statement said.
She skipped out on underwear while meeting the royal family — twice.
In 1992, Westwood was invited to Buckingham Palace when she was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for her services to the fashion industry. During the visit, she made headlines when she spun for the cameras outside the palace and revealed she wasn't wearing any underwear.
"I met a man who worked with the Queen and he said she was rather amused by it," Westwood said, the Daily Mail reported in 2006.
When she returned in 2006 to become a dame, she once again went commando.
"Don't ask," she said, according to the Daily Mail. "It's the same answer. I don't wear them with dresses. When I'm wearing trousers I might — my husband's silk boxers."
Her son is Joseph Corré, the founder of lingerie brand Agent Provocateur.
Agent Provocateur is one of the most famous lingerie brands in the world, and it was founded by Westwood's son Corré. His father was Malcolm McLaren, the manager of the punk band the Sex Pistols and Westwood's collaborator — they ran the clothing store SEX in London in the 1970s.
"Those clothes that she designed at that time were the most glamorous thing you'd ever seen," Corré said of his mother's designs from that era in an interview with The Herald in March. "But at the same time, she also looked like some kind of alien had landed from space because you'd never seen anyone like that."
Corré founded his lingerie brand in 1994 in London. Its beginning "marked a pivotal shift in British counterculture by subverting the male gaze to empower women," according to the brand's website.
She dressed as Margaret Thatcher for the cover of Tatler in the '80s.
Westwood's Thatcher cosplay was iconic at the time, and it remains so decades later. The April 1989 cover shows the designer wearing a black suit and pearls, and sporting Thatcher's signature high hair, under the words, "this woman was once a punk."
The reason for the cover? Thatcher had ordered the suit, but then canceled the order, leaving it open for Westwood to try on.
"This cover for Tatler was blown up on billboards during London Fashion Week — even I had to look twice to believe it was me," Westwood said in her published diaries, "Get a Life!," according to an excerpt shared by Dazed Digital.
"One week later Tatler's editor Emma Soames got the sack. I've never asked Emma if there was any connection," she continued.
Westwood had no idea who Emma Watson was when she presented her with an award in 2011.
As a true punk icon, it's not surprising that Westwood didn't really keep up with modern pop culture, and thus she admitted she had no idea who the "Harry Potter" star was when she presented her with an Elle Style Icon award in 2011.
"I said, 'Who is Emma Watson?' I never watch television, I don't read fashion magazines. They said she used to be in 'Harry Potter,' and I said, 'I've never seen 'Harry Potter.'' They said they have this girl friend called Hermione and I said, 'Oh — she's lovely.' So I must have absorbed something of her. So I would like to give this award to Emma who I've just met," Westwood said while presenting Watson with the award, according to the London Evening Standard.
Pharrell Williams' viral brown hat at the 2014 Grammys was designed by Westwood.
One of the biggest style moments in Pharrell's career was when he walked the red carpet of the 2014 Grammys in an oversized brown hat. By the end of the evening, a Twitter account had been created for the hat, one that still exists and has over 12,000 followers.
CNN identified the hat as the Buffalo Hat from Westwood and the late McLaren's Autumn/Winter 1983 show "Nostalgia of Mud."
Carrie Bradshaw's wedding dress in "Sex and the City" was also a Westwood creation.
During the film, Carrie (played by real fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker), originally didn't want an extravagant wedding or dress, but when she saw this Westwood creation, she fell in love. Westwood eventually sent Carrie the dress with a handwritten note, and even though the wedding didn't go as planned, she did look stunning.
So stunning, that Parker was once again spotted wearing the dress while filming the second season of "And Just Like That."
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the film, Westwood released a set of ready-to-wear versions of the dress.
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