UK fashion designer Vivienne Westwood dies aged 81

UK fashion designer Vivienne Westwood dies aged 81

Tributes have poured in following the death of Dame Vivienne Westwood, the pioneering British fashion designer, at the age of 81.

Westwood died “peacefully and surrounded by her family” at home in Clapham, south London on Thursday evening, her representatives said.

The designer made her name on London’s fashion scene in the 1970s and was widely credited with bringing punk style into the mainstream.

Fellow designer Marc Jacobs said he was “heartbroken” and that Westwood “never failed to surprise and to shock”.

 Born in Derbyshire in 1941, Westwood and her family moved to London in 1957, where she attended art school for one term.

She met band manager Malcolm McLaren in the 1960s while working as a primary school teacher and after separating from her first husband,

Derek Westwood. Together, Westwood and McLaren went on to open a small shop called Let It Rock on the King’s Road in London’s Chelsea in 1971.

The business was later renamed Sex, and McLaren began managing the Sex Pistols, a punk rock band that shot to fame in 1976 wearing Westwood and McLaren’s designs.

After the Sex Pistols broke up, the two held their first catwalk show in 1981. Westwood eventually began to forge her own path in fashion, splitting from McLaren in the 1980s.

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