Vivienne Westwood

Fashion Designer


8 April 1941

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood was born Vivienne Isabel Swire in Glossop, Derbyshire on 8th April 1941. At the age of 17 , in 1957, Vivienne and her family moved to London.  She began designing in 1971, along with her partner Malcolm McLaren, when London was at the forefront of cultural trends. The showcase for their ideas and designs was the shop at 430 Kings Road, London. With her changing ideas of fashion came the change of not only the name of the shop, but the entire decor as well. 

In 1971, 430 King‟s Road was known as “Let It Rock”. 1950‟s Rock‟n‟Roll records and clothing were sold at a time when „hippies‟ were the fashion and Rock‟n‟Roll music was rarely heard on British Radio. In 1972, the name was changed to “Too Fast To Live, Too Young To Die”. The shop had clothing with zips and chains, T-shirts with slogans, and Zoot suits. “Sex” was the shop‟s new name in 1974; it sold rubberwear for the office, leather bondage, T-shirts with zips, holes, situationist slogans, and pornographic images. With 1976 came punk and “Seditionaries” followed by “World‟s End” which remains its name to this day. 

 By the end of the seventies Vivienne Westwood was already considered a symbol of the British avant-garde and in Autumn/Winter 1981 she showed her first catwalk presentation at Olympia in London. In October 1982, Vivienne Westwood began to show in Paris, the first British designer to do so since Mary Quant. She opened a second shop in London called “Nostalgia of Mud”, which closed at the end of 1984, and co-incided with the end of her collaboration with Malcolm McLaren.  


In autumn 1984, Vivienne Westwood was invited to show her collection in Tokyo with Hanae Mori, Calvin Klein, Claude Montana, and Gianfranco Ferre at “the best of five”. 1984 was also a very important year for Vivienne as it marked a radical change of direction. Street style and youth culture ceased to play a major part of her world. She now finds inspiration in traditional Savile Row tailoring techniques, British fabrics and 17th and 18th century art. The orb logo that was first used around this time perfectly symbolized “taking tradition in to the future”.  

In 1989 Mr. John Fairchild, president of Fairchild publications and editor of the fashion bible Women‟s Wear Daily, in his book “chic savages”, listed Vivienne as one of the six most influential designers in the world. Vivienne has always included menswear within her womenswear collections, but in July 1990 Vivienne showed her first complete menswear collection in conjunction with Pitti Uomo in Florence. In that year Vivienne Westwood was awarded the prestigious title of British designer of the year.  


In January 1991, Vivienne Westwood was chosen to show in Tokyo once again, this time alongside Christian Lacroix, Isaac Mizrahi, and Francesco Moschino at the Fashion Summit. Vivienne was again awarded British Designer of the year in 1992.  


1993 brought the division of her womenswear label in to two different lines: “Gold Label”, selling couture, and “Red Label” the pret-â-porter line. “Man” her independent menswear line was first shown, to International acclaim, in 1996 during Collezioni Uomo in Milan. In 1998 Vivienne launched a new line “Anglomania” for men and women in order to complete the Westwood universe and meet a younger and more casual demand. In the same year Vivienne Westwood launched her first fragrance “Boudoir” to be accompanied in 1999 by the bodyline “Les Coquetteries”. Vivienne began designing a complete range of eyewear, both sunglassesand optical, for wold wide distribution. “Libertine” Vivienne‟s second fragrance was launched in 2001.  


From 2002 to present day, Vivienne Westwood has opened more stores in Italy, Russia, Japan, Korea and China. A third fragrance Anglomania was launched in 2004 and the same year saw the V&A host a Vivienne Westwood retrospective exhibition to celebrate 34 years in fashion – the largest exhibition ever hosted by a living British fashion designer, which is now touring the world. Vivienne Westwood is now both recognized as a global brand and Vivienne herself one of the most influential fashion designers in the world. In 2006, her contribution towards British Fashion was officially recognized when she was appointed a Dame. 

In 2007 VW ltd. launches two new fragrances, Boudoir Sin Garden and Let it rock.  The same year Anglomania is shown at the Mercedes Benz Fashion week in Berlin and the Vivienne Westwood Retrospective exhibition opens in San Francisco in March and in Milan in September.  

Vivienne Westwood in 2007 is also rewarded with the Outstanding Achievement in Fashion at the British Fashion Awards in London. 


1941 Vivienne Isabel Swire born on 8th April in Glossop, Derbyshire 

1957 Moves with her family to London 

1962 Marries Derek Westwood aged 21 

1963 Her first son, Benjamin Arthur Westwood is born 

1965 Marriage to Westwood ends. Meets 18 year old Malcolm Edwards (aka McLaren) 

1967 With McLaren a second son is born, Joseph Ferdinand Corre 

1971 Opens first shop with McLaren at 430 Kings Road called „Let it Rock‟ 

1972 The shop is redesigned and renamed „Too Fast To Live, Too Young To Die‟ 

1974 Shop name is changed to „Sex‟ 

1976 Shop name is changed to „Seditionaries‟ 

1979 Shop name is changed to „World‟s End‟ (its current name) 

1984 With McLaren opens second shop „Nostalgia of Mud‟ 

Collaboration and relationship with McLaren ends shows collection in Tokyo alongside „Best of five‟ 

1986 Carlo D‟Amario is appointed as Managing Director of Vivienne Westwood 

1989 named one of the six most influential designers in John Fairchild‟s book „Chic Savages‟ 

1990 The Vivienne Westwood shop at 6 Davies Street, in London‟s Mayfair, is opened in December, where the Gold Label collection is sold. 

Awarded Designer of the Year at The British fashion council awards  March, ITV‟s flagship arts program, The South Bank Show, air a one hour profile of Vivienne Westwood. She is the first fashion designer to be featured on the program. September, BBC Radio 4 broadcasts a „special‟ that allows Vivienne to interview eminent figures in the museum world to highlight the fact that the stagnation of museums and galleries is a direct influence of Government policy. 

Appointed Professor of Fashion at Vienna Academy of Applied Arts, first complete menswear collection shown in Pitti Uomo in Florence 

1991 Awarded Designer of the Year for second time at The British fashion council awards 

1992 Vivienne Westwood is made an Honorary Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art. 

Shop opens at 43 Conduit Street, London, creates a watch design called „Putti‟ for Swatch.  Chargers at CAPC Musee d‟art, Bordeaux, France, sponsor a retrospective show of her life‟s work in November. Following a listing in the Birthday Honours issued by Buckingham Palace, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, presents Vivienne Westwood with an O.B.E. in December. Vivienne introduces Wedding gowns to her spring/summer collection “The Salon”. Gowns are made-to-order. Unlike most designers, Vivienne does not restrict herself to white and ivory. Vivienne Westwood marries Andreas Kronthaler who she met whilst teaching in Vienna. 

1993 Vivienne creates her own tartan for the Anglomania line (Autumn/Winter 1993/94) and invents her own clan “MacAndreas”. The Lochcarron of Scotland officially recognizes the clan. This process of recognition normally takes 200 years.  Appointed Proffessor of Fashion at the Berliner Hochschule der Künste. Designs second watch for Swatch called „Orb‟ 

1994 Westwood wins the first Institute of Contemporary Art Award for outstanding Contribution to Contemporary culture. Designs „Ancien Regime‟ costumes in carpet to celebrate the founding in 1783 of the carpet company Brintons 

1996 January, The „Man‟ label, the menswear line is launched in Milan.Three-part channel 4 series, „Painted Ladies‟ is broadcast in Spring 

1998 Vivienne Westwood Ltd is awarded the Queen‟s Award for Export in recognition of the company‟s growing export market.  Vivienne Westwood launches her debut fragrance, Boudoir, developed in conjunction with world-famous „nose‟, Martin Gras of Dragoco. “My perfume is called Boudoir. A boudoir is a dressing room – and a place to get undressed. It signifies a woman‟s space, a place where she is on intimate terms with herself, where she sees her faults and her potential”. 

Vivienne Westwood is the first designer to be honoured at the Moët & Chandon Fashion Tribute. This highly prestigious annual event, held in conjunction with the Victoria & Albert Museum, honors a leading light from the world of fashion whose creativity and vision of the way we dress has had a profound influence on our lifestyle. 

1999 The Red Label is launched in New York in February coinciding with the opening of a first US store on Greene Street New York.  Accessories lines are introduced including the eyewear collection and the Coquetteries body and bath line 

2000 The museum of London holds the exhibition „Vivienne Westwood: the collection of Romilly McAlpine‟ from 7th April to 25th June. The second fragrance, „Libertine‟ is launched in Europe 

2001 Launch of official web-site  Vivienne Westwood launch new flagship stores in Moscow (March).  April 8th Vivienne Westwood celebrates her 60th Birthday – many UK and International press salute her and celebrate her amazing career. „Libertine‟ is launched in the USA Far East and Australia. 

2002 Launch of Vivienne Westwood flagship store in Hong Kong. Launch of 2 boutiques in Korea 

2003 Collaboration with Wedgwood. The partnership between two major English brands to develop a Vivienne Westwood home collection. September, opening of Vivienne Westwood palazzo and store in Milan,  October, Liverpool store opens.

Awarded the UK Fashion Export award for design 

2004 Vivienne Westwood awarded Lifetime Achievement award at the Elle style awards,  April, The V&A hosts a Vivienne Westwood retrospective exhibition to celebrate 34 years in fashion – the largest exhibition ever hosted by a living British fashion designer. 

Vivienne Westwood is awarded the Womens World Fashion Award by Former President Gorbachev in Hamburg. A third fragrance „Anglomania‟ is launched 

2005 ‘Hardcore Diamonds‟ are launched during the Gold Label FW 2005 show in Paris.  The Vivienne Westwood Retrospective exhibition opens at the Mori Arts museum in Tokyo 

2006 Vivienne Westwood is made a Dame in the New Years Honours list. The Vivienne Westwood Retrospective exhibition opens in Dusseldorf and Bangkok 

2007 Fragrances Boudoir Sin Garden‟ and „Let it Rock‟ launched.  Anglomania is shown at the Mercedes Benz Fashion week in Berlin.  Vivienne Westwood Retrospective exhibition opens in San Francisco in March and in Milan in September. 

Vivienne Westwood in 2007 is also rewarded with the Outstanding Achievement in Fashion at the British Fashion Awards in London. 

In 2008 Vivienne Westwood showed her Red Label in London after almost a decade of absence from her country and called on other British brands that now only show abroad to follow her example. In February 2008, Westwood launched the Vivienne Westwood Opus, published by Kraken Sports & Media Ltd. The Opus includes a total of 92 giant Polaroids of the designer’s family and friends which are accompanied by Vivienne’s cultural manifesto ‘Active Resistance to Propaganda’. In May 2008 the Vivienne Westwood V&A Retrospective is held at The Sheffield Galleries (in Sheffield) and in October is shown in Hong Kong at the Cornwall House (TaiKoo Place).

2010 Vivienne Westwood teams up with denim brand, Lee Jeans, for a capsule collection featuring five styles for women and four for men. The Vivienne Westwood Anglomania and Lee Jeans collection takes inspiration from Westwood’s punk and pirate collections of the 1970s and 1980s. Additionally, Vivienne Westwood is named as the Coolest Fashion Brand in a survey administered by The Centre for Brand Analysis.

2011 The new Palladium jewellery collection is launched to coincide with the opening of the Los Angeles flagship store.

Christina Hendricks (MadMen tv celebrity) wears a heart necklace piece of Vivienne Westwood Collection Palladium

                with husband Andreas Cronthaler

TODAY Vivienne Westwood Ltd is proud to be an entirely independent company and Vivienne Westwood is acknowledged to be one of the most influential fashion designers in the world.


Below Vivienne Westwood Collection