Dame Vivienne Westwood died on Thursday, December 29 in South London. The iconic designer was 81 years old, and her representatives said in a statement that she was surrounded by friends and family at the time of her passing.
Her husband Andreas Kronthaler, with whom she frequently collaborated on creative projects, said, “I will continue with Vivienne in my heart. We have been working until the end and she has given me plenty of things to get on with. Thank you darling.”
The creative artist was reportedly busy up until the time of her death, working on art, her writing, and on The Vivienne Foundation, a non-profit she founded with her sons and granddaughter this year with the goal of raising awareness and creating tangible change around her primary interests as an activist. Their four pillars of change are listed as: Climate Change, Stop War, Defend Human Rights, and Protest Capitalism.
“Capitalism is a crime,” Westwood is quoted as saying. “It is the root cause of war, climate change, and corruption.”
The fashion designer was born on April 8, 1941 in the village of Tintwistle, Cheshire to a middle-class family, and worked for a period in a factory and then as a school teacher. She was known for bringing the styles of punk and new wave music into the mainstream, and ran the famous SEX boutique with her second husband, Malcolm McLaren.
She said, “I was messianic about punk, seeing if one could put a spoke in the system in some way.”
In a 2012 interview, she explained, “I always design for a parallel universe; a world that doesn’t exist. You know, one that’s like this but better.” She added: “To me, a hero is somebody who’s prepared to stick their neck out, to step out and walk tall, and to live life. That’s how I see a hero.”
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.