Vivienne Westwood, the iconoclastic fashion designer who was instrumental in the look of original UK punk, has died at age 81. The news was shared via her website:

Vivienne Westwood died today, peacefully and surrounded by her family, in Clapham, South London.

Vivienne continued to do the things she loved, up until the last moment, designing, working on her art, writing her book, and changing the world for the better. She led an amazing life. Her innovation and impact over the last 60 years has been immense and will continue into the future.

Vivienne considered herself a Taoist. She wrote, “Tao spiritual system. There was never more need for the Tao today. 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.”

The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better.

An art school dropout and former school teacher, Westwood pursued design while teaching, selling jewelry on weekends in London's Portobello Road. Her life changed when she met Malcolm McLaren in the mid-'60s and she began designing clothes for his boutique on London's Kings Road in the early '70s. The shop changed names and themes a few times, but its incarnation as SEX from 1974-1976 made them both famous as Westwood's designs would become synonymous with the look of original era UK punk. The shop most famously outfitted The Sex Pistols (bassist Glen Matlock worked there occasionally), other patrons included The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde (who also worked there), Siouxsie Sioux, Adam Ant, and more.

Westwood's provocative style made her one of the most famous names in fashion of the last 60s years. Rest in peace, Vivienne.


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