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31 Dec

Remembering Dame Vivienne Westwood: Industry Figures Share Memories of

LONDON WWD’s legendary late publisher and editorial director John B. Fairchild described Vivienne Westwood as a “designer’s designer” and her peers definitely agree. 

Designers and fashion industry figures have been paying tribute to Westwood, who died Thursday at age 81, describing her not only as an iconoclast but as a fantastic teacher and role model.

Fairchild considered Westwood one among the world’s six biggest designers, together with the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Emanuel Ungaro and Christian Lacroix.

Westwood signed a seven-year licensing agreement with Giorgio Armani in 1984 that gave the Italian designer exclusive rights to her name. But no clothes were ever produced under the agreement and in 1987 Westwood actually sued Armani for failing to pay her. Regardless of, Armani on Friday told WWD: “I actually have an indelible image of Vivienne Westwood in mind: I remember her on the quilt of Tatler, decked like Margaret Thatcher, she who had been the queen of punk, in an ironic portrait that went world wide. There was a lot humor and a lot culture in her work, which was at all times so irreverent yet so rigorous, so stuffed with history yet at all times revolutionary. I’ve long admired her ability to harmonize extremes, the respect for the past and the shortage of nostalgia, after which that sharp, very elegant British flicker. Fashion loses a real revolutionary.”

Riccardo Tisci, who collaborated with Westwood and Andreas Kronthaler for a Burberry capsule collection in 2018, recalled being exposed to the designer’s work in his very early days of being a student in London.

“Her influence was all over the place: on the streets, within the clubs, in my college corridors. The tartan, the graphics, the styling — her work and more importantly her approach and attitude were unlike anything I’d seen before: rebellious, fiercely honest and disruptive, yet romantic by some means at the identical time. She influenced me in so some ways, not only then but as I proceed my journey as a designer,” Tisci said.

“It was of the best honors to have worked and hung out together with her more recently. I used to be so touched by her creative generosity, humor, warmth and tireless strive to enhance the world she lived in, and her encouragement of those round her to do the identical. A punk with a heart of gold, Dame Vivienne leaves an incredibly unique imprint in fashion and beyond, and can be greatly missed because the unrivaled Queen of Fashion,” he added.

“I first met Vivienne in September 1976 on the lesbian club Louise’s in London’s Poland Street, the one club to permit us punks entrance. It was the top of the evening and after blasting Siouxsie and the Banshees, the last dance was curiously, ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ by Stevie Wonder. Suddenly Vivienne and I were alone on the dance floor. She asked what I did, I replied I used to be a fashion student at Saint Martins. She looked horrified, then I trod on her foot with my stiletto, not a fantastic start,” said British milliner Stephen Jones.

Vivienne Westwood and Stephen Jones in 2012.

Getty Images

“There isn’t a yet another influential than Vivienne on late Twentieth- and Twenty first-century fashion. Without Vivienne there is no such thing as a Rei [Kawakubo], no John [Galliano], no Lee McQueen nor 100 other designers nor one million punks world wide for who she was and is, the Queen of Fashion. I remember distinctly the vindication I felt when John Fairchild voted her as one among the highest six designers of the world, as Condé Nast nor Hearst never featured her, they viewed her as a little bit of a humiliation. She visited my showroom persistently to speak about culture, prints, silhouettes, even hats. I made mini crinnies backstage and she or he was a well-recognized figure on her bicycle as she was an in depth neighbor in Clapham,” Jones added. 

“I had the dignity of collaborating together with her persistently, from the tweed crown in 1987 through many hats along the best way, although Prudence, not I, was her primary milliner. But the reality is I’ll at all times collaborate with Vivienne as she is eternally the backdrop for my design life.”

Young British designer Matty Bovan said: “I first met Vivienne once I was 16 or 17 at a charity fashion show she was doing in Liverpool — I used to be such an enormous fan (I do have a photograph somewhere), she looked incredible in real life and seeing her work modified my life. She never stopped inspiring me and I feel she at all times will in the long run. Her legacy is immense on this planet. I’m really perplexed of how much each Vivienne and her work meant to and what they represented.”

Bovan had the chance to walk in a Vivienne Westwood show and forged a relationship with the designer and her partner Kronthaler over time.

“I used to be lucky enough to talk to Vivienne quite quite a bit over the times we met and she or he gave me quite a lot of advice which I cherish dearly. Such a generous and smart person — an actual person in every way. Being someone from the north of England, I can attest that Vivienne at all times spoke to young people growing up and wanting to self express — she made fashion and inventive fashion so accessible and exciting, beyond the boundaries of sophistication. She inspired so many individuals who didn’t slot in growing up, myself 100% in that category. I’m heartbroken,” Bovan added.

“When her studio was in Camden within the early ’90s, she popped in to say hello while her son Joe Corré was helping me on my buying appointment for Browns, once I was a buyer for young designers; we were the primary store to purchase Vivienne Westwood outside her own stores, which was an enormous gear shift for her, and she or he got here into the appointment to ask how every little thing was and ‘Are we doing all of it right as we’ve never done it before?’ She was incredibly humble, used to send me little gifts with notes like ‘I’m so glad with how this constellation scarf has turned out, I wanted you to have one among the primary ones’ and would cycle to South Molton Street wearing bicycle clips to come back and see her windows at Browns, at all times chatty,” said Mandi Lennard, founding father of creative consultancy Mandi’s Basement.

“I remember buying a extremely expensive cardigan with holes throughout it for Browns; it had a red crown neckline hand-painted with gold — I purchased an indigo one (for me) and the opposite one in khaki chenille was snapped up by the wardrobe person for a latest TV show called ‘Absolutely Fabulous.’ Every young designer I’ve ever worked with hero-worshiped her: Kim Jones, Gareth Pugh, Matty Bovan,” Lennard added.

On Instagram, Marc Jacobs wrote: “You probably did it first. All the time. Incredible style with good and meaningful substance.”

Donna Karan said, “I’m so so sad to listen to. Vivienne Westwood was one among a form. Sensible, a real designer like no other. Her stature, her creations, her love for fashion. She defines a real designer.”

Pamela Anderson, who starred within the brand’s 2017 spring campaign, praised the designer’s shared commitment to activism.

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 28:   Pamela Anderson and Dame Vivienne Westwood attend the Andreas Kronthaler For Vivienne Westwood Womenswear Spring/Summer 2020 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on September 28, 2019 in Paris, France.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Pamela Anderson with Vivienne Westwood in 2019.

Dave Benett/Getty Images

“I proceed to learn out of your words, and your entire extraordinary creations. I’ll at all times remember the night we bonded over our mutual love for Yves Saint Laurent. You never did not surprise and to shock. I’m grateful for the moments I got to share with you and Andreas,” Anderson said.

“It has not set in yet, my ribs ache, a lump in my throat, the Angel of Democracy. So many memories, conversations that inspired me and lots of others to do higher. I actually have had the nice fortune to have such a wild and wonderful, supportive friend in Vivienne.  A ‘see-er’ — she saw and understood things so clearly. The boys and I’ll miss her.

“Andreas carries the torch, but is his own creative, after all. She was at all times so amazed by him. I’ve never seen such admiration between partners. I really like you Andreas. I really like you Vivienne at all times, eternally more. You’re here. Your legacy, your passion for planet earth, your vision lives on. Intellectuals unite. Climate revolution. We’ll never surrender the fight. All of us must fight till the top, such as you.”

FIT’s Valerie Steele said via email Thursday that Westwood had a big impact on the world of fashion. “She was not only the high priestess of punk, she also pioneered the novel combination of historic references and contemporary subcultures, often doing research within the dress collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Galliano and McQueen were definitely influenced by her, but so was Christian Lacroix.”

Tommy Hilfiger said, “Vivienne and Malcolm McLaren were behind the punk rock scene in London within the ’70s with the Sex Pistols. It was a strong fashion music revolution on the time. I visited their store on Kings Road within the early ’70s. It was an exciting and memorable experience I’ll always remember. This inspired me to open a punk rock shop in 1974 called The Underground within the basement of my store, People’s Place. Vivienne was a visionary, a force and a committed activist. Her legacy as a trailblazer is indisputable.”

Andrew Burnstine, associate professor at Lynn University’s College of Business and Management, who’s the grandson of Martha’s founder and chairwoman Martha Phillips, said, “Martha discovered Vivienne through the buying office we had in London on the time. Her first show was an incredible hit. I at all times remember the incredible Elizabethan gowns coming down the runway, with models draped in pearl necklaces, flowing trains of lace infused with flowers and chic trimming. There have been mirrors on the partitions and sconce lighting illuminated your entire area. I assumed I used to be an element of a royal wedding, or ceremony, awaiting the ultimate entrance of Elizabeth I.

“Martha, Lynn [Manulis, Phillips’ daughter] and I went to the showroom a day or two after the show. Vivienne was there and greeted us together with her resounding English voice. She proceeded to help her sales team explaining the gathering, and likewise gave us an incredible fashion history as well, discussing the  importance of fashion and the Elizabethan era. I’ll always remember her meticulous eye, her dedication to detail, and what I learned in regards to the history of fashion from who has change into for over five a long time the ‘voice’ of fashion for this century. Vivienne did do a trunk show with us in Recent York during her second yr in business. It was an enormous success. Customers were lining as much as try on a few of the gowns that were an element of the trunk show collection. Martha’s took quite a lot of orders, and when the garments were delivered months later, they fit to perfection.

“And now, as a professor of fashion, once I speak about Vivienne Westwood with my students, I mention the indisputable fact that there is probably no other designer of our lifetime who has created fashion from so many various eras and times. From Elizabethan to the Priestess of Punk, her ‘circular’ fashion looks have linked the past, present and the long run. As Vivienne so aptly stated, ‘Fashion is life-enhancing, and I believe it’s a stunning generous thing to do for other people.’ And by all accounts, she has definitely achieved her goal.”

Julie Gilhart, chief development officer, Tomorrow Ltd. and president, Tomorrow Projects, who was previously senior vp, fashion director at Barneys Recent York, said, “She was the queen. She influenced so many up-and-coming designers and can proceed to. She took risks that others would never do and was an early activist for the planet and eternally continued to wave the green flag. She never lost her youthful approach and fervour. Her legacy is vast and can proceed to encourage future generations.” 

Describing Westwood as “a real original and game changer in so some ways,” Michael Kors recalled Thursday meeting her in Scotland at a fashion event within the early ’90s. “I used to be taken together with her wit, intelligence and sharp humor,” Kors said.

He continued, “Her influences ran the gamut from the road and music to historical references, and she or he at all times delivered in her own inimitable style. From punk to corsets to platforms, her vision modified the best way women dressed and saw themselves. Her influence will proceed to encourage generations to come back.” 

“Vivienne Westwood has reshaped the codes of clothing and created a novel style, with as much talent as conviction. A significant figure of Paris Fashion Week, she was also a pioneer of sustainable fashion,” said Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel and the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.

Pascal Morand, executive president of the FHCM, said, “Vivienne Westwood was a serious designer, which she seamlessly blended with music through the rise of the punk movement. She has consistently and gracefully married irreverence with the sense of responsibility.”

Stella McCartney shared a private anecdote of Westwood on Instagram, saying, “I remember sitting together with her for hours at Juergen Teller’s birthday dinner as she gently analysed the corner of the table cloth, folding it with precision like Japanese origami… I realised she was making a tiny pattern and designing a zero-waste object, with little challenge. She was a genius.”

“Dame Vivienne was a maverick in every sense of the word. Unorthodox, independent minded and highly original in all that she touched. Someone whose orbit was so outside of trends and mediocrity. True to her passions be it radically provocative, political or environmental issues,” said Clare Waight Keller over email.

“I used to be once at an event together with her in London where she spoke boldly, at great length and was quite controversial together with her comments on people and fashion! You couldn’t take your eyes off her, she was fascinating. She was hilarious, never predicable and infrequently completely on point. 

“She inspired people to actually take into consideration capitalism and its huge impact on the climate. She saw the impact first hand. She was an incredible force for ladies in fashion, using each sex and romanticism with equal deft, herself a fierce dresser at all times a trailblazer, surprising and unique. She lived and breathed her brand to the core.

“I walk past her iconic store almost on a regular basis on the Kings Road, I live very close by, all her iconic pieces from the pirate boots, orb necklaces, platform shoes and radical t shirts which are below the large landmark rewinding clock face within the shelves of the window, look as relevant today as they did when she designed them.”

“I’m a baby of the ’70s, so I used to enter ‘Seditionaries’, ‘Sex’ and ‘World’s End’ quite a bit. Back in those days I managed a punk band, I believe all of us just about dressed from there,” said Sarah Doukas, founding father of Storm Model Management.

“We were often invited to things and I remember being at one dinner at Tracy Worcester’s house (founding father of Farms Not Factories). She really wanted to avoid wasting pigs from factory farming in Europe, and I went to help raise awareness. Vivienne was also there, and she cycled home at midnight around Hype Park Corner,” added Doukas.

Westwood visited Doukas’ offices again when she was working on her Cool Earth movement which Storm donated to. “Storm gets asked to support quite a lot of worthwhile causes, and we now have a responsibility to remember in regards to the environment. We all felt strongly about this because Vivienne was so passionate, informed and committed to raising money and awareness. I remember her coming in just a few days later to thank us, and she or he remembered every one among my staffs name, for those who can imagine it, which is definitely extraordinary.”

Doukas recalls a funny encounter her husband Tim Garner had with Westwood at a marriage. “My husband was sitting together with her and he’d never met her before. They’d an incredible conversation about socialism, the environment, and good jokes. At one point, she looked up and asked Tim, ‘Which is the bride’s mother?’ and Tim said, ‘The one in beige.’ And Vivienne said, ‘Beige?’ Tim, who’s a creative director, immediately got that it didn’t resonate with Vivienne, he went, ‘Oh, taupe,’ to which she responded back with, ‘Oh taupe, that’s higher.’ Vivienne had such a fantastic humorousness,” said Doukas on the phone.

“Dame Vivienne Westwood’s spirit, tenacity and legacy must continue to exist,” said model Erin O’Connor, adding that she was “an incomparable human being who possessed such power and purpose in her lifetime which she shared the world over with relentless fortitude. We owe it to her memory and future generations to proceed her vital work.”

Erdem Moralioglu remembered Westwood as an “an inspiration, a pioneer and a legend. Her studio was the one place I ever did a piece placement, over 20 years ago, it was an incredible time and I’ll remember her at all times.”

“I knew Vivienne and she or he was really unique and unique, an absolute genius in fashion and never only she drove fashion to change into the bearer of a social disruptive message, of true change breaking all of the classic criteria to reaffirm latest ones. She revolutionized the concept of fashion adding a social value it never had before,” said Carlo Capasa, chairman of Italy’s Camera della Moda.

“She was an authentic activist who created a novel language fabricated from respect for the planet and for the human diversities before anyone else would speak about them, which she brought forward with a robust voice. She has been and is the essence of up to date fashion and embodies it,” he added.

Les couturiers Jean Paul Gaultier et Vivienne Westwood lors d'un défilé de mode en juillet 1992 à Paris, France. (Photo by Pool ARNAL/PICOT/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood in 1992.

Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

“The British Queen of punk fashion left us yesterday. She brought tradition and revolution together in probably the most perfect way: God bless the Fashion Queen!” Jean Paul Gaultier said in an Instagram post. 

“England has lost two sovereigns in a row,” agreed French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, who first met Westwood and McLaren in 1972.

“I used to be making clothes with textile waste, things like mops and blankets, and I used to be slightly isolated in my ‘anti-fashion’ universe. I went to London and I met Vivienne and Malcolm on King’s Road. It was right at the beginning of their profession and we ended up having quite a bit in common. We quickly established a bond,” he recalled via telephone.

“We were all crazy about music, and after that we remained friends. There was something very inspiring to me about Vivienne’s initial approach. It helped me to grasp that fashion was also a manifesto, that it could channel anger, commitment and values.  That was really at the basis of her work,” de Castelbajac said. 

In a while, they connected over their shared love of history and 18th century artists like Boucher and Fragonard. “She was a really faithful friend,” said de Castelbajac, noting that Westwood usually showed up for his events, including the opening of “The People of Tomorrow” children’s exhibition on the Pompidou Center in Paris in September 2021.

“I can still see her playing hopscotch with the identical enthusiasm as a baby,” he said. “There was something very touching about her that made Vivienne ageless, and it’s the rationale she was popular with every generation. It was also her commitment to causes as varied because the environment, or Julian Assange, and her awareness of the importance of transmission.” 

De Castelbajac noted that Westwood succeeded him as professor on the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. “That’s where she met one among my talented students, Andreas Kronthaler, who became her husband and likewise her successor, in a way. It’s quite exceptional that she had the time to coach Andreas and to pass on to him her vision,” he said. 

ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF THE VUITTON MONOGRAM FABRIC (Photo by Eric Robert/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)

Christian Lacroix and Vivienne Westwood in 1996.

Sygma via Getty Images

Christian Lacroix acknowledged his profound debt to Westwood, whom he got to know within the Nineties when on the request of WWD boss John B. Fairchild, he chosen his favorite designers from Great Britain, Italy and america for a tour of Japan where they showed their collections and attended lectures and parties. 

“I, after all, selected Vivienne with Franco Moschino and Isaac Mizrahi,” he said, recalling the “shock” of her World’s End boutique on King’s Road.

“I don’t know if without her I’d have made such historicist collections as naturally. Her radicality, her audacity, vigilance and intelligence made her the ‘mother’ of all designers not only in London and Paris, but elsewhere,” he said via email.

“What I’ve at all times said and repeat today with more conviction, even affection and with almost solemnity, is that without her we wouldn’t exist. She gave a rare impulse to the sorts of the ‘80s and ‘90s, not only in appearance and surface […] but in depth,” Lacroix said.

Her design aesthetic “has opened up paths by which we may not have dared to enterprise without it. With it, fashion has change into a political manifesto, for the very first time I believe, without losing any of its aesthetic, creative, revolutionary power,” he added. 

“I actually have at all times really admired Vivienne for her work and impact in fashion and beyond. She was a real force of ideas, creativity and political vision. She can be missed,” said Miuccia Prada. 

“A radical who never conformed. Rebellious to the core. A pioneer, she harnessed the ability of fashion to advocate for change. Much respect. My thoughts are together with her family, friends and people who love her,” added Raf Simons.

Fashion designers Donatella Versace, Vivienne Westwood and Jil Sander pose and smile at an event in New York where they receieved

Donatella Versace with Vivienne Westwood and Jil Sander.

Penske Media via Getty Images

Donatella Versace took to Instagram to share a black and white photo of her with Westwood and Jill Sander. “Vivienne was an iconic pioneer in Fashion and its biggest Punk. She broke the entire establishment rules to make clothes that spoke of independence, revolt and power. She gave generations of young people latest codes to specific themselves,” she wrote.

“Vivienne continually inspired me as one among the few leading women in our industry. She was never afraid, she never took no for a solution, her vision was pure and unfiltered. Vivienne taught us all a lot. She at all times will,” Versace added.

Pierpaolo Piccioli praised Westwood’s attitude on Instagram by saying, “Punk has no gender, no specific requests no attributes of sorts. If there may be one thing that punk has taught me, is the deflagrating power of self, accepting and welcoming the chance of not being liked or understood. So punk is a way of pondering and looking out and, ultimately, embracing what’s different, unconventional, loud and free. All of that and so way more, was spread everywhere in the world by Dame Vivienne Westwood, who shook your entire fashion system by simply putting her fierce freedom before anything.”

“She showed to all of us that being disruptive and smart and graceful at the identical time is the punkiest thing that one could do,” he added.

The historian and dramatist Ian Kelly, who cowrote Vivienne Westwood’s official autobiography, said his affection for, and admiration of, Westwood grew “exponentially” through the process. 

Kelly said Westwood taught him many things, including to “search for the wonder. In every little thing. In every moment. And everybody. It is straightforward to forget within the midst of her vital work in activism, that she was also some of the influential designers of recent fashion history, regularly cited as the lady who, singly, has had more impact on how we dress and the way we take into consideration clothes than anyone else today.”

Tristram Hunt, director of the Victoria & Albert museum, said that Westwood’s “rebellious style and constant reinvention kept her on the forefront of the style industry for a long time. We’re honored to deal with so many items from her collections — they’ll proceed to be a source of inspiration for generations to come back.”

The V&A has had a long-standing relationship with Westwood throughout her profession. The museum presented the designer’s first retrospective in 2004, and houses a whole lot of things regarding Westwood’s profession, including key ensembles and materials dating from her early collaborations with Malcolm McLaren to the founding of her fashion house to the current day. 

Several ensembles are currently on display within the V&A South Kensington’s Fashion Gallery, and in V&A Dundee’s Scottish Design Galleries.

“Coming to my debut Paris show in 2012 was every little thing .. a complete surprise and absolute honour. Seeing her catwalk show in 1980 was life changing, realising that fashion may very well be like this allowed me to utilise my ability to stitch gloriously ignited by her unorthodox approach it inspired me to also change into a self-taught no-rules-philosophy designer,” said Pam Hogg in an Instagram post.

Andrew Groves, professor of fashion design at University of Westminster, said, “Last night, I used to be desirous about all of the individuals who wouldn’t have gone into fashion if it hadn’t been for Vivienne. In case you were a working-class kid growing up within the late Seventies and early Nineteen Eighties, Vivienne was an absolute inspiration who made you think you, too, may very well be an element of that world.

“She demonstrated that you just didn’t have to come back from the ‘right’ family or attend the ‘right’ school or college; you might do it on your individual terms. Without her we wouldn’t have had Galliano or McQueen, or the hundreds of other during the last 40 years that she inspired to be creative and in her words ‘to get a life’.”

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