Six decades of Dame Vivienne Westwood fashion coming to a close

When the eponymous British fashion House announced the passing of its founder and designer, Dame Vivienne Westwood, at age 81, it cast the world of fashion in deep mourning

English fashion designer and businesswoman, Vivienne Westwood, at a retrospective dedicated to her work at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Photo: Derek Hudson/Getty Images

The announcement on December 29, 2022, reminded us again of the philosophy held by the designer. Not only was she considered the mother of punk who had little patience for conformity, and lived her life as such – free of societal constraint which showed in her designs, but she was also a deep believer of the Tao spiritual system.  

“There was never more need for the Tao today,” it read, quoting Westwood. “Tao gives you a feeling that you belong to the cosmos and gives purpose to your life; it gives you such a sense of identity and strength to know you’re living the life you can live and therefore ought to be living: make full use of your character and full use of your life on earth.”

Also see: Andreas Kronthaler, the man behind Vivienne Westwood’s aesthetic, on its future

The designer who notoriously dressed the Sex Pistols took part of what many perceived as controversies at the time, starting with immersing herself into the 1970s punk rock scene, supporting Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and climate change, to dressing up as former prime minister Margaret Thatcher for a magazine cover in 1989.

She was awarded the Order of the British Empire medal in 1992 by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

The fashion house stayed financially independent, even through turbulent times such as the pandemic in recent times. One of the reasons for such tenacity of a fashion label was attributed to the loyal celebrity client base Vivienne Westwood enjoys.

The iconic fashion house continued all these years with just two board members, Westwood herself and director general Carlo D’Amario, until December 16 when Jeffrey Banks join them.

Westwood passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, in Clapham, South London – ending an illustrious career of over six decades – forever leaving her legacy in the history books of fashion. 

Also see: Vivienne Westwood to collaborate with Burberry

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