Dame Vivienne Westwood, queen of British fashion, dies at 81

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Dame Vivienne Westwood, queen of British fashion, dies at 81

British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, known for her rebellious and politically charged designs, has died at the age of 81. Westwood, who was surrounded by her family at the time of her passing in South London, was celebrated for her activism and for bringing important causes to the forefront of her fashion shows, including fighting climate change and pollution and supporting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Westwood first rose to fame in the 1970s with her controversial punk and new wave styles, and was known for dressing iconic bands such as the Sex Pistols. She also famously created three dresses for actress Kim Catrall in just three days so that she could attend film premieres after other designers' creations were deemed unsuitable.

Tributes to Westwood have poured in from the fashion and entertainment worlds. Fashion designer and Spice Girl Victoria Beckham said, "I'm so sad to learn of the passing of legendary designer and activist Dame Vivienne Westwood." Singer Boy George called her "great and inspiring" and "the undisputed Queen of British fashion." Supermodel Claudia Schiffer described Westwood as having a "unique voice" that will be "irreplaceable and missed," while singer Billy Idol tweeted, "RIP it will take me a bit to take this in..." In her own words, Westwood's clothes "have a story, an identity, a character and a purpose." She will be remembered for her enduring impact on the fashion industry and for using her platform to bring attention to important issues.

Vivienne Westwood

In addition to her rebellious and politically charged designs, Westwood was also known for her avant-garde and unconventional style. She was a pioneer of the punk and new wave movements in the 1970s, and her clothing was often seen as a form of protest against the mainstream fashion industry.

Westwood's signature style was characterized by a mix of historical and cultural references, as well as a strong emphasis on tailoring and corsetry. Westwood's influence extended far beyond the fashion world, and she was recognized for her contributions with numerous awards and accolades.

In 1992, she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and in 2006 she was elevated to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her services to fashion. In addition, Westwood was awarded the Order of the Arts and Letters in France and the Order of Merit in Germany.

Despite these formal honors, Westwood remained true to her rebellious roots and never hesitated to speak out against injustice and inequality.