|Birth Day:||April 8, 1941|
|Birth Place:||Derby, England|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
She worked as a primary school teacher.
Westwood was born in the village of Tintwistle, Cheshire, on 8 April 1941, the daughter of Gordon Swire and Dora Swire (née Ball), who had married two years previously, two weeks after the outbreak of World War II. At the time of Vivienne's birth, her father was employed as a storekeeper in an aircraft factory; he had previously worked as a greengrocer.
In 1958, her family moved to Harrow, Middlesex, and Westwood took a jewellery and silversmith course at the University of Westminster, then known as the Harrow Art School, but left after one term, saying: "I didn't know how a working-class girl like me could possibly make a living in the art world". After taking up a job in a factory and studying at a teacher-training college, she became a primary school teacher. During this period, she created her own jewellery, which she sold at a stall on Portobello Road.
In 1962, she met Derek Westwood, a Hoover factory apprentice, in Harrow. They married on 21 July 1962; Westwood made her own wedding dress. In 1963, she gave birth to a son, Benjamin (Ben) Westwood.
Westwood's marriage to Derek ended after she met Malcolm McLaren. Westwood and McLaren moved into a council flat in Clapham, where their son Joseph Corré was born in 1967. Westwood continued to teach until 1971 and also created clothes which McLaren designed. McLaren became manager of the punk band the Sex Pistols and subsequently the two garnered attention as the band wore Westwood's and McLaren's designs.
She dubbed the period 1981-85 "New Romantic" and 1988–91 as "The Pagan Years" during which "Vivienne's heroes changed from punks and ragamuffins to 'Tatler' girls wearing clothes that parodied the upper class". From 1985 to 1987, Westwood took inspiration from the ballet Petrushka to design the mini-crini, an abbreviated version of the Victorian crinoline. Its mini-length, bouffant silhouette inspired the puffball skirts widely presented by more established designers such as Christian Lacroix. The mini-crini was described in 1989 as a combination of two conflicting ideals - the crinoline, representing a "mythology of restriction and encumbrance in woman's dress", and the miniskirt, representing an "equally dubious mythology of liberation".
In April 1989 Westwood appeared on the cover of Tatler dressed as then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The suit that Westwood wore had been ordered for Thatcher but had not yet been delivered. The cover, which bore the caption "This woman was once a punk", was included in The Guardian's list of the best ever UK magazine covers.
In 1992, Westwood was awarded an OBE, which she collected from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. At the ceremony, Westwood was knicker-less, which was later captured by a photographer in the courtyard of Buckingham Palace. Westwood later said, "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," and added: "I have heard that the picture amused the Queen." Westwood advanced from OBE to DBE in the 2006 New Year's Honours List "for services to fashion", and has twice earned the award for British Designer of the Year.
Westwood is married to her former fashion student, Austrian Andreas Kronthaler. For 30 years she lived in an ex-council flat in Nightingale Lane, Clapham, until, in 2000, Kronthaler convinced her to move into a Queen Anne style house built in 1703, which once belonged to the mother of Captain Cook. She is a keen gardener and a vegetarian.
In September 2005, Westwood joined forces with the British civil rights group Liberty and launched exclusive limited design T-shirts and baby wear bearing the slogan I AM NOT A TERRORIST, please don't arrest me. She said she was supporting the campaign and defending habeas corpus. "When I was a schoolgirl, my history teacher, Mr. Scott, began to take classes in civic affairs. The first thing he explained to us was the fundamental rule of law embodied in habeas corpus. He spoke with pride of civilisation and democracy. The hatred of arbitrary arrest by the lettres de cachet of the French monarchy caused the storming of the Bastille. We can only take democracy for granted if we insist on our liberty", she said. The sale of the £50 T-shirts raised funds for the organisation.
In 2007, Westwood was approached by the Chair of King's College London, Patricia Rawlings, to design an academic gown for the college after it had successfully petitioned the Privy Council for the right to award degrees. In 2008, the Westwood-designed academic dresses for King's College were unveiled. On the gowns, Westwood commented: "Through my reworking of the traditional robe I tried to link the past, the present and the future. We are what we know."
Dame Vivienne stated on television in 2007 that she had transferred her long-standing support for the Labour Party to the Conservative Party, over the issues of civil liberties and human rights. Since early 2015, she has been a supporter of the Green Party of England and Wales.
In a 2007 interview Westwood spoke out against what she perceive as the "drug of consumerism", and in 2009 she attended the première of The Age of Stupid, a film aimed at motivating the public to act against climate change.
Westwood's designs were featured in the 2008 film adaptation of the television series Sex and the City. In the film, Carrie Bradshaw becomes engaged to long-term lover Mr. Big. Being a writer at Vogue, she is invited by her editor to model wedding dresses, including a design made by Westwood. The dress is subsequently sent to Carrie as a gift, with a handwritten note from Westwood herself, and Carrie decides to use the Westwood gown. The wedding dress has been described as one of the movie's most iconic features, leading Westwood to approach the producers about being involved in making a sequel. This dress was available to purchase on net-a-porter, which sold out in a matter of hours. It was available to buy as a knee-length version.
On Easter Sunday 2008, she campaigned in person at the biggest Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament demonstration in ten years, at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston, Berkshire.
In 2008, Heriot-Watt University awarded Westwood an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters for her contribution to the industry and use of Scottish textiles
Marion Cotillard wore a Westwood red satin strapless dress at the London premiere of her film Public Enemies in 2009. In 2013, she wore a Westwood Couture pink and ivory striped dress at the Chopard Lunch in Cannes.
Pharrell Williams wore a Westwood Buffalo hat to the 2014 56th Annual Grammy Awards that was originally in Westwood's 1982-83 collection. The hat was so popular that it inspired its own Twitter account. Pharrell was first seen wearing a similar Westwood Buffalo hat in 2009.
The manifesto was read by Westwood at a number of venues including the London Transport Museum before being staged at the Bloomsbury Ballroom by Forbidden London and Dave West (entrepreneur) on 4 December 2009. It starred Michelle Ryan and a number of other well known British actors.
In July 2011, Westwood's collections were presented at The Brandery fashion show in Barcelona.
In August 2011 Westwood's company Vivienne Westwood Ltd agreed to pay almost £350,000 in tax to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for significantly underestimating the value of her brand. Her UK business had sold the rights to her trademarks to Luxembourg-based Latimo, which she controlled, for £840,000 in 2002. After examining the deal, HMRC argued that the brand had been undervalued, and, after negotiation, the two sides agreed that her trademarks were worth more than double that amount. The £2m valuation triggered an additional tax bill of £348,463 plus interest of £144,112, which fell due in 2009.
In 2011, Princess Eugenie wore three Westwood designs for the pre-wedding dinner, the wedding ceremony and the after-wedding party at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
In January 2011, Westwood was featured in a Canadian-made television documentary called Vivienne Westwood's London in which she takes the viewer through her favourite parts of London, including the Courtauld Institute of Art, the Wallace Collection, Whitechapel (accompanied by Sarah Stockbridge), Hampton Court, the London Symphony Orchestra, Brixton Market and Electric Avenue, and the National Gallery.
In March 2012, Vivienne Westwood Group reached agreement to end a long-standing UK franchise relationship with Manchester-based Hervia, which operated seven stores for the fashion chain. The deal brought to a conclusion a legal wrangle which included Hervia issuing High Court proceedings for alleged breach of contract, after Westwood sought to end the franchise deal before the agreed term. It was reported that a financial settlement was reached between the parties.
In 2012, Westwood was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork – the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover – to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life that he most admires. Also in 2012, Westwood was chosen as one of The New Elizabethans to mark the diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. A panel of seven academics, journalists and historians named Westwood among a group of 60 people in the UK "whose actions during the reign of Elizabeth II have had a significant impact on lives in these islands and given the age its character".
In 2013, the transition of some of the Hervia stores to Westwood, along with cost-savings, was credited for a jump in Vivienne Westwood Ltd's pre-tax profits to £5 million from £527,683 the previous year, with annual group sales of £30.1 million up from £25.4 million.
The next year, the company results showed “disappointing” sales with a dip of 2% to £29.5 million and a fall of 36% in pre-tax profits to £3.2 million in 2013, according to accounts posted at Companies House. The company announced: "Over the last year margins have been under pressure due to the nature of wider retail conditions."
In June 2013, Westwood announced she was shunning further expansion of her business as a way of tackling environmental and sustainability issues.
In June 2013, Westwood dedicated one of her collections to Chelsea Manning and at her fashion show she and all of her models wore large image badges of Manning with the word "Truth" under her picture. The next year, she cut off her hair to highlight the dangers of climate change. She also appeared in a PETA ad campaign to promote World Water Day and vegetarianism, drawing attention to the meat industry's water consumption.
In 2013, sustainable luxury fashion publication Eluxe Magazine accused Westwood of using the green movement as a marketing tool on the basis that certain Westwood fashion and accessories lines are made in China. These were found to include PVC, polyester, rayon and viscose, all derived from harmful chemicals. Eluxe also pointed out that, in spite of Westwood's statements that consumers should 'buy less', her company produces nine collections a year (compared to the average designer's two) Westwood was also accused of using unpaid interns in her fashions house and making them work over 40 hours per week, some interns have complained about how they had been treated by the fashion house.
In 2014, Westwood became ambassador for clean energy Trillion Fund.
In 2014, as part of her Spring/Summer 15 collection, Westwood collaborated with the nonprofit organisation Farms Not Factories. Unveiled at Milan Fashion Week, the T-shirts and tote bags were produced using ethically sourced organic cotton.
In October 2014, the authorised biography Vivienne Westwood by Ian Kelly was published by Picador. Paul Gorman described it as "sloppy" and "riddled with inaccuracies" on the basis of multiple errors in the book including misspelling the names of popular rock stars “Jimmy” Hendrix and Pete “Townsend” and misidentifying the date of the Sex Pistols’ first concert and McLaren's age when he died in 2010. Picador publisher Paul Baggaley told The Bookseller: “We always take very seriously any errors that are brought to our attention and, where appropriate, correct them." A spokesman for Pan MacMillan, which published an Australian edition of the biography, confirmed that the matter was being handled by the publisher's lawyers.
In March 2015, the company announced that it was to open a three-storey outlet in midtown Manhattan in late 2015. This was scheduled to be followed by a new 3,200-square-foot shop in a building also housing the company's offices and showrooms in Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris, due to open in early 2016.
In 2015, Vivienne Westwood Ltd operated 12 retail outlets in the UK, including an outlet store in Bicester Village. There were 63 Westwood outlets worldwide including nine in China, nine in Hong Kong, eighteen in South Korea, six in Taiwan, two in Thailand, and two in the U.S. Nevertheless in June of that year, the company reported a profit dip from £3.2m to £2.9m in 2014, despite an 8.4% jump in sales to £32m. VWL paid £1.6m in license fees to Latimo and £646,033 in UK corporation tax in 2014, a 17% fall from the previous year.
Several media outlets reported in 2015 that the accounts for Vivienne Westwood Ltd showed the company paid £2 million a year to offshore company Latimo, which was set up in Luxembourg for the right to use Westwood's name on her own fashion label. Latimo, which Westwood controls as the majority shareholder in her companies, was set up in 2002. Such arrangements, while legal, were against the Green Party policy to crack down heavily on usage of tax havens such as Luxembourg. In March 2015 Westwood said "It is important to me that my business affairs are in line with my personal values. I am subject to UK tax on all of my income". Later in 2015 she said that she had restructured her corporate tax arrangements to try to align them with the Green Party's policy.
In January 2015, Westwood announced her support of the Green Party of England and Wales: "I am investing in the Green Party because I believe it is in the best interests of our country and our economy'.
In February 2015, Westwood was announced as the special guest on the Greens' We Are The Revolution campaigning tour of English universities in such cities as Liverpool, Norwich, Brighton and Sheffield.
In 2016, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, acquired a Tit's t-shirt, designed by McLaren and sold at Seditionaries between 1976 and 1980.
In June 2017, Westwood endorsed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for the 2017 UK general election. She said, "I'm excited about the Labour Party manifesto because it's all about the fair distribution of wealth." She added "Jeremy clearly wants to go green and creating a fair distribution of wealth is the place to start, from there we can build a green economy which will secure our future." In November 2019, along with other public figures, Westwood signed a letter supporting Corbyn describing him as "a beacon of hope in the struggle against emergent far-right nationalism, xenophobia and racism in much of the democratic world" and endorsed for in the 2019 UK general election.
In 2018 a documentary film about Westwood, called Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, premiered. The next year, Isabel Sanches Vegara wrote and Laura Callaghan illustrated Vivienne Westwood, one of the series, Little People, Big Dreams, published by Frances Lincoln Publishing.
Westwood is a longtime supporter of Julian Assange and has called for his release from custody. She visited him during his political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and in Belmarsh Prison after his arrest in April 2019. She has used her appearances at London Fashion Week to push for his release. In July 2020, she protested outside London's Old Bailey court against Assange's possible extradition to the US by wearing a yellow pantsuit and suspending herself in a giant birdcage. Describing herself as the canary in the coal mine, she said she was "half-poisoned already from government corruption of law and gaming of the legal system by government".
Vivienne married Sam Westwood in 1962, with whom she had a son, and they divorced in 1965. Vivienne married Andreas Kronthaler in 1992. Vivienne has two sons named Joseph Corré and Ben Westwood.
Currently, Vivienne Westwood is 80 years, 0 months and 10 days old. Vivienne Westwood will celebrate 81st birthday on a Friday 8th of April 2022. Below we countdown to Vivienne Westwood upcoming birthday.
happy birthday vivienne westwood, leader of the climate revolution, queen of british fashion, godmother of punk!
As fashion icon and fearless campaigner, Dame Vivienne Westwood, celebrates her 73rd birthday, we ask her friends, admirers, muses and colleagues to pour out their love for her... Happy birthday Viv! x