To celebrate our favourite flame-haired fashion maverick’s PFW show, we’ve charted Dame Vivienne's best game-changing moments.
1. The Time She Ran Off With A Rebel…
Vivienne Swire was a primary school teacher who sometimes liked to make dresses. At 22, she was raising her first son, Benjamin, with her hoover factory apprentice husband Derek Westwood – and then she met Malcolm. The Sex Pistols’ notorious manager swept Viv off her feet, introducing her to bondage, bikers and other general badass-ness. The couple had a son, Joseph Corre, who went on to found Agent Provocateur and father the next Brit IT girl, Cora Corre.
(Image: Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren)
2. The Time She Invented Punk Fashion…
Vivienne and Malcolm opened their legendary Kings Road boutique in 1971, changing the name every few years from Let It Rock, to Too Fast To Live, Too Young To Die and SEX (caps lock, locked on). In the height of hippie-chic, the shop’s USP was turning fetishes into fashion statements and sported the catchy tagline ‘rubberwear for the office’.
(Image: Vivienne Westwood in 1974)
3. The Time She Plundered History…
When punk fashion became mainstream, Viv knew she needed a new angle. The whole point, after all, was to rebel. For her first ever catwalk show in 1981 Vivienne presented Pirates – a collection that kick-started the new romantic look and dominated 80s sub-cultures. It was anti-Dynasty, shock-and-awe styling, a whole mix of historical references mashed together in a single outfit. Fans from Boy George to Adam Ant loved her work.
(Image: Vivienne Westwood catwalk show, 1981)
4. The Time She Forgot Her Knickers…
Vivienne received her OBE from the Queen in 1992 – wearing no knickers. No problem, thought our commando commander, until she decided to celebrate with a spin in front of waiting photographers in the Buckingham Palace courtyard. Was One amused? The Queen lol’ed so hard that she promoted her to DBE in 2006.
(Image: Vivienne Westwood in 1992)
5. The Time She Fell In Love With A Wunderkid…
Viv fell for a man half her age. Literally. Austrian fashion student Andreas Kronthaler was 25 and she was 50 when they met. ‘It’s very difficult to find a student who you’d give a 100 out of a 100 – maybe it’s possible, but I haven’t met them yet. But in the case of Andreas, he was completely off the scale,’ Vivienne would later say. The unconventional couple live and work together still and have been happily married for 22 years.
(Image: Vivienne Westwood and Andreas Kronthaler)
6. The Time She (Almost) Broke Naomi’s Ankle…
When a young Naomi Campbell took a tumble in Viv’s 1993 runway show, fashion history was made. The offending design? A pair of 11 inch purple platforms, no less, has since been deemed museum-worthy.
(Image: Naomi Campbell in Vivienne Westwood platforms)
7. The Time She Became An Eco-Warrior…
Every true punk needs a good cause to champion and over the years Vivienne’s supported PETA, Aids Research, Oxfam and more. Her work as an environmental campaigner, particularly, is now renowned and she’s still working hard to make us use more sustainable materials and stop unethical supply chains in the fashion industry. She even dressed Lily Cole in a wild rubber dress at the punk-themed MET ball in 2013. ‘A dress with a purpose is probably as punk as you can get,’ Lily would later tell us.
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(Image: Vivienne Westwood 2013)
8. The Time She Embraced Pop Icons…
After years campaigning against the mainstream, Viv decided in 2008 that, under her own terms, pop culture could be, well, cool. In two attention-grabbing moves, she appointed her unlikely BFF and fellow environmental activist Pamela Anderson to be the face of her label and scored a major Hollywood costume coup designing Carrie Bradshaw’s wedding gown in the Sex And The City movie.
(Image: Sex And The City)
9. The Time She Shaved Her Head…
Viv shaved off her famous locks in March 2014, but, unlike Britney, our favourite dame had a purpose. According to her spokesman, ‘Vivienne cut her hair because we must all wake up to Climate Change.’ Nearly 50 years after she first broke the mould, our favourite fashion revolutionary is still on a mission to change the world for the better. A true original, we salute you.
(Image: Vivienne Westwood in March 2014)Read our exclusive interview with Dame Vivienne Westwood, here.