Vivienne Westwood: A rebel’s life in 10 eye-catching pictures

The creator of the punk look never lost her rebellious spirit

Dame Vivienne Westwood was born Vivienne Isabel Swire in the village of Tintwistle, Derbyshire on April 8th, 1941

Having been a primary schoolteacher, jewellery and clothes designer and mother, Westwood’s raison d’être arrived with, and indeed she was instrumental in, the punk movement alongside her then partner Malcolm McLaren.

Vivienne Westwood met McLaren in the early 70s. He had a shop on Kings Road in London which became the seminal shop SEX, a hangout for the proto-punk movement.

Westwood created the rebellious punk image for the Sex Pistols, including their God Save the Queen T-shirt.


Westwood began to be recognised by the establishment and was awarded the prestigious title of British designer of the year in 1990.

In 1992 she received an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II. She caused a furore by going commando to Buckingham Palace. “I wished to show off my outfit by twirling the skirt. It did not occur to me that, as the photographers were practically on their knees, the result would be more glamorous than I expected,” she later explained.

In June 1993 Naomi Campbell fell over while wearing mock crocodile shoes with 5in platform soles and 12in heels at a the Vivienne Westwood show during Paris Fashion week.

In February 1997 Vivienne Westwood made a triumphant return to Britain at the end of the catwalk show for her Autumn/Winter 1997/98 collection. It was the first time she had displayed a collection at London Fashion Week since 1990.

She continued to be feted by the establishment, rubbing shoulders with royals and celebrities.

Kate Moss was among the models who wore her clothes during the 1990s, including a famously short miniskirt. The two would go on to become close friends.

In January 1999 eccentric former boxer Chris Eubank modelled a Westwood creation at her show in Glasgow. She has always had a penchant for the unusual. Another example was Pamela Anderson, who wore Westwood in March 2009.

Always a protester, she stepped up her activism in recent years, supporting causes such as Greenpeace, anti-fracking and the freedom of Julian Assange. – Guardian