FAMOUS INTERNATIONAL FASHION DESIGNERS
Dame Vivienne Westwood, DBE, RDI (born Vivienne Isabel Swire on 8 April 1941) is an English fashion designer and businesswoman, largely responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream.
Westwood came to public notice when she made clothes for Malcolm McLaren's boutique in the King's Road, which became famous as "SEX". It was their ability to synthesise clothing and music that shaped the 1970s UK punk scene, dominated by McLaren's band, the Sex Pistols. She was deeply inspired by the shock-value of punk - "seeing if one could put a spoke in the system".
Westwood went on to open four shops in London, eventually expanding throughout the United Kingdom and the world, selling an increasingly varied range of merchandise, some of it linked to her many political causes such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, climate change and the civil rights group Liberty. She has been twice married, and has two children.
In 1970, Vivienne Westwood shook up British fashion indelibly. For Westwood, it was her penchant for leather and zippers. The store, now called World’s End, is still open and continues to carry Westwood’s collections, her main women’s ready-to-wear line, which she officially launched in 1981; her Red Label, which skews to younger tastes; a mass-market line called Anglomania; and her menswear line. Her designs have grown leaps and bounds in sophistication but retain the same tropes as always (pirates, tartans, courtesans, Victoriana, bondage). But although Westwood has remained one of Britain’s most influential designers—influencing Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano and the like—she has struggled with profitability.