Punk and New Wave are largely terms used in the music industry to describe album genres and musical styles, but Vivienne Westwood changed all that from around 1971 onwards. Over the course of the next forty plus years she would go on to change the face of fashion, help to popularize the punk movement and establish herself as one the world most highly regarded fashion designers of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Vivienne Westwood was christened Vivienne Swire originally and grew up in a little village in Derbyshire before heading south with her family and spending a term studying fashion at Harrow School of Art. After an early exit from art school she found herself as primary school teacher at a number of school in Brixton, but didnt lose her love of art and fashion, as she made and sold jewelery at Portobello Road Market.
The name changed to Westwood thanks to her marriage to Derek Weswood, but the relationship ended when Vivienne moved in with Malcolm McLaren. The couple soon opened a shop together selling Teddy Boy clobber made by Vivienne, the main stay of the place that began life as Let It Rock on Kings Road. However, this soon changed in favor of punk style as the punk era transformed London of the 70s.
From 1981 onwards her runway shows have consistently shocked, and humbled the fashion world as her style progressed punk influences to more historic looks and creative styles, including tartan.
As the years passed by Vivienne Weswood has become increasingly vocal in her political thoughts. This aspect of her media communication has spilled over onto its own website stage called Get A Life. With a massive focus on the promotion of aspects of culture and environmentalism, the website has become a collection of thoughts on climate change and society at large.
However, she is by far still best know for her fashion, which has turned into an internationally recognized empire, which includes her Gold and Red Labels, perfumes and her Worlds End shop that has become the eventual name of the original Let It Rock. Whether shes producing leather jackets, flowing and historically charged gowns or a ridiculing garment of monstrosity, Westwood is never dull.
With an OBE in 1992 and the addition of Dame to her name in 2006, Vivienne Westwood has the attention and admiration of fashion followers from the lowest to the highest climbs. Stunningly bridges any class gaps she is a uniting force under the banner of culture and art. Recognized as Fashion Designer of the Year consecutively in 1990 and 1991 by the British Fashion Council, she is as much admired by her peers as she is by her adoring followers. With London Fashion Week shows for her Red Label still inspiring the fashion world, she is still a force to be reckoned with when it comes to what she does best, attention grabbing fashion design and catwalk shows.