Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood dies at 81

U.S.
Models applaud as British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood salutes the public after the presentation of her Spring/Summer 2006 collection in Paris, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2005. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Models applaud as British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood salutes the public after the presentation of her Spring/Summer 2006 collection in Paris, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2005. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

LONDON (NEXSTAR) — Iconic British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood died Thursday in Clapham, South London, Westwood’s company confirmed Dec. 29.

In a tweet, the official brand account wrote: “Vivienne Westwood died today, peacefully and surrounded by her family… the world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better.”

Westwood, who was also awarded damehood by the late Queen Elizabeth II, was born on April 8, 1941.

Westwood’s designs came to prominence during the punk era of 1970s England, with many of her clothes being donned by punk music pioneers the Sex Pistols. Westwood’s impact on punk is widely acknowledged, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s Costume Institute going so far as to call her the “Mother of Punk.”

NEW YORK – OCTOBER 02: Actress Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of “Sex and the City” on Oct. 2, 2007 in New York City (Photo by Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic)

As explained by Vogue, through the 1990s, Westwood’s designs became known for elaborate and luxurious 18th Century European elements akin to those seen by the likes of Marie Antoinette. Many of these ornate elements can be seen in one of Westwood’s most recognizable pieces: the “Sex and the City” wedding dress. The gold and ivory multi-layered bridal gown was worn by star Sarah Jessica Parker for the 2008 film — and was worn when Parker, as Carrie Bradshaw, was left at the altar.

The gown was so beloved that Westwood released a series of pieces inspired by the dress to commemorate the movie’s 10th anniversary, according to Harper’s Bazaar.

Most recently, Westwood’s spiritual fingerprints could be seen in the wardrobe designs in Disney’s “Cruella,” which was set in the midst of London’s punk fashion scene. As the titular Cruella, star Emma Stone wears several pieces loosely inspired by Westwood’s style.

BBC News reports Westwood’s husband and creative partner Andreas Kronthaler said in a statement: “I will continue with Vivienne in my heart.”

Several fashion industry greats responded via social media to express their condolences, including acclaimed photographer Mario Testino, who the late designer “divine” and fellow British fashion house Burberry, who called Westwood “a true British icon.”

British Vogue reports Westwood’s sons and granddaughter will officially launch the Vivienne Foundation in 2023. The foundation, co-founded along with Westwood herself, will “honour, protect and continue the legacy of Vivienne’s life, design and activism.”

A catalogue of some Vivienne Westwood collections can be viewed at Vogue.

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