Childhood & Early Life
She was born as Vivienne Isabel Swire in Tintwistle, Derbyshire to Gordon Swire, a greengrocer and storekeeper and Dora Swire.
She graduated from the Glossop Grammar School and in 1958, when her family relocated to London; she attended the Harrow School of Art at Westminster University, where she studied fashion and silversmithing for a term, after which she dropped out of college.
After leaving college, she went on to work at a factory and later attended a teachers training college and subsequently became a primary school teacher.
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In 1971, she designed clothes for Malcolm McLaren’s boutique ‘430 King's Road’ and their designs gained mainstream attention, after the band ‘Sex Pistols’ flaunted their designs.
In 1981, ‘430 King's Road’ showcased its designs for the first time on the ramp. The theme of the show was ‘pirates’ and the following year the theme was ‘Buffalo Girls’.
In 1990, she launched her own exclusive line of a complete menswear collection and the same year she opened ‘The Vivienne Westwood shop’ in London.
In 1992, she started designing wedding gowns and also worked with the watch company ‘Swatch’, for which she designed a watch collection named ‘Putti’.
In 1993, she collaborated with ‘Swatch’ for the second time and created ‘Orb’, which is an exclusive range of watches. That following year, she also designed for the carpet company, Brinton’s.
In 1999, she opened her first store in New York and the same year she launched her line of eyewear and the ‘Coquetteries' collection, a line of toiletries and body products.
In 2000, she showcased her collection titled 'Vivienne Westwood: the collection of Romilly McAlpine at The Museum of London. That year, she also launched her own fragrance called, ‘Libertine’.
In 2003, she opened her store in Milan and Liverpool and the previous year she opened a store and an accessories shop in Hong Kong.
From November 2004 to January 2005, her retrospective show called ‘Vivienne Westwood - 34 years in fashion’ was showcased at The National Gallery of Australia.
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In 2006, she collaborated with Nine West, a shoe brand. Even though she does not directly design for the band, her name is associated with the label.
In 2009, she designed for Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, the second wife of the Prince of Wales, Charles. Camilla wore her designs to the royal Ascot, a major race event in the Britain.
A couple of years later, she designed for Princess Eugenie of York, who wore her designs at the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. That year her collection was showcased at The Brandery fashion show, held in Barcelona.
In 2012, she worked with The Woolmark Company, for whom she created a twelve piece luxury collection that was made from some of the finest wool procured from Australia.
She has designed for the 2011 royal wedding attendee, Princess Eugenie of York and has also designed for Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, the second wife of the Prince of Wales, Charles.
‘The Vivienne Westwood’ label is an internationally recognized designer label that has four boutiques in London, one boutique in Leeds and also one situated in Milan, Italy. Other branches are located in Los Angeles, Paris, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow and Manchester.
Awards & Achievements
In 1992, she was the recipient of the title, ‘The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’, which was conferred to her by Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace.
In 2007, she was the awarded the ‘Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Design’ at the British Fashion Awards.
In 2010, she was the recipient of the Prince Philip Designers Prize.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1962, she married Derek Westwood, who was at that time an apprentice at the hoover factory in Harrow, London. The following year, they had a son. The marriage ended in divorce in 1965.
She became romantically involved with Malcolm McLaren, an English artist, with whom she had a child.
In 1992, she married Andreas Kronthaler, her former student and the couple live together in a Queen Anne style house in Britian.
In 2008, she canvassed for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which was held at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston, Berkshire.