Vivienne Westwood ( 1941-

Born Vivienne Isabel Swire in Glossop, Derbyshire, on April 8, 1941, Vivienne Westwood is one of the most influential and recognisable British designers of the past 20 years. She began designing clothes in 1971 with the opening of her first shop, Let It Rock, at 430 King's Road. The shop underwent several changes of name and style until it emerged in 1974 under name of Sex, a boutique selling bondage gear, ripped T-shirts and other attire that became synonymous with the punk explosion.


In 1976, her then lover and business partner, Malcolm McLaren, guaranteed her status among the stars when he dressed the Sex Pistols, the British band he managed, in clothes from the boutique. By the time the punk storm had passed at the end of the Seventies, Westwood was already recognised as a frontrunner among fashion's avant-garde.


In 1981, Westwood showed her first collection in London, entitled Pirate. The show put her firmly on the fashion map as an original and unusual design talent. In 1983, she showed in Paris (the first British designer to do so since Mary Quant) and in 1984 her clothes shared catwalk space with those of Calvin Klein and Gianfranco Ferré in Tokyo, where she is still now best loved. Her uncompromising and often provocative designs long continued to hit the headlines, securing a global audience for her clothes.


In 1990, by now more concerned with haute couture than streetstyle, Westwood launched a menswear collection in Florence. In the same year, she was named British Designer of the Year, a feat she repeated in 1991. The following December, she was awarded an OBE in recognition of her services to British fashion. Her use of quintessentially British wools, tweeds, tartans and linens

continues to make her a byword for British style and quality abroad; and in 1998 she won the Queen's Export Award.


Among other honours, Westwood also was awarded a place in the Victoria & Albert museum, with the indigo mock croc lace-up platform boots that famously toppled Naomi Campbell on the catwalk in 1993. When in 1999 Queen Elizabeth II went to view the collection, wearing sensible court shoes, she was heard to mutter: "I'm not surprised she fell."


As one of the most curious creatures this country has produced, among her eccentricities is a desire to seem to live a modest life. She regularly cycles into work. And, despite being awarded £17,530 by Lambeth Council and the Heritage Lottery fund to renovate her 300-year-old home in the historic Old Town area of Clapham (which

(which once belonged to Captain Cook's mother), Westwood claims that she and her husband, Andreas Kronthaler, share their home with very little furniture. "All I've got at home are two second-hand armchairs, a trestle table, a fridge and a cooker," she once said.


Westwood's son by McLaren, Joe Corre, is the founder of Agent Provocateur.


Vivienne Westwood, 44 Conduit Street, London W1R 9FB.


Tel: +44 (0)20 7287 3188

Fax: +44 (0)20 7437 2203

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

1957 She moved with her family to London, aged 17, and attended Harrow Art School for 1 term.

1962 Vivienne married Derek Westwood. Aged 21 she became a primary school teacher in Willesden, North London.

1963 Benjamin Arthur Westwood, their first son is born.

1965 Her marriage to Westwood ended and she met 18 year old Malcolm Edwards (aka McLaren).

1967 Westwood and Edwards had one son, Joseph Ferdinand Corre

1969 Vivienne moves to Prestatyn, North Wales but returns to London in the spring.

1971 Westwood began designing and her first shop was opened on the Kings Road, London called 'Let It rock1.

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

1974 The shop name was changed to 'SEX'.

1975 Westwood's designs became symbols of the Punk movement and was fined for 'exposing to public view an indecent exhibition'.

1976 430 King's Road is renamed 'Seditionaries'

1977 Vivienne and McLaren arrested after punk Jubilee boat incident. 1979 Worlds End opens at 430 King's Road.

1981 The Pirate Collection was shown in March 1981, her first catwalk show at Olympia in London.

1982 Westwood began to show in Paris, the first British Designer to do so since Mary Quant. Westwood opened her second shop in London called "Nostalgia of Mud".

1984 "Nostalgia of Mud" closes and co-incided with the end of her collaboration with Malcolm McLaren. Vivienne moves to Italy.

Westwood is invited to show her collection in Tokyo at the "Best of Five", alongside Calvin Klein, Claude Montana and Gianfranco Ferre.

Vivienne's deal with Giorgio Armani announced.

1985 Vivienne's father dies, Gordon Swire.

1987 Westwood designed the Statue of Liberty corset in the 'Harris Tweed', Autumn/Winter collection, the first corset introduced into outerwear.

1989 Westwood's name appeared in a list by John Fairchild, the American publisher of Women's Wear Daily, of the top six designers in the world, along with Armani, Lagerfield, Saint Laurent and Ungaro. Westwood being the only woman amongst them. The list appeared in his book Chic Savages in November, 1989.

1989-1991 Westwood became Professor of fashion at Vienna Academy of Applied Arts.

1990 Westwood showed her first complete menswear collection in conjunction with Pitti Uomo in Florence.

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

In March ITV's art programme, The South Bank Show', aired a one hour profile of Vivienne Westwood. She was the first fashion designer to be featured on the programme.

In September, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a special that allowed Vivienne Westwood 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.

1990 & 1991 Awarded Fashion Designer of the Year by the British Fashion Council.

1991 Vivienne Westwood was chosen to show in Tokyo once again at the Fashion Summit alongside Christian Lacroix, Isaac Mizrahi and Franco Moschino.

1992 Wedding Gowns were introduced to Westwood's collections. All made to order in not just the traditional white and ivory.

Vivienne Westwood became an Honorary Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art in July.

Vivienne Westwood opens a shop 43 Conduit Street, London which stocks the Man Collection as well as the Red Label diffusion line. The shops backward spinning clocK- the orb, is one of London's tourist attractions and has become Westwood's insignia and logo. It symbolises the world and is very British as it is part of the Royal regalia. To Westwood it represents a British designer with an international perspective, representing tradition and the future.

In July Westwood was the first fashion designer for Swatch and she created the 'Putti' design.

Chargeurs at CAPC Musee d'Art, Bordeaux, France, sponsored a retrospective show of her life's work on November 20th.

In December following her listing In the Birthday Honours issued by Buckingham Palace, Westwood was presented with an O.B.E by her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. (where she wore a supposedly see-through slip with no knickers)

Westwood marries Andreas Kronthaler whom she met whilst teaching in Vienna.

1993 Westwood became Professor of Fashion at the Berliner Hochschule der Kunste. She still holds this position today.

Westwood designed a second watch for swatch named 'orb'.

The Red Label Collection was initiated as a diffusion line made in Italy and shown in London.

Westwood commissioned her own clan 'Mac Andreas1 for the Anglomania Collection, as a tribute to her husband. It normally takes two hundred years for a tartan to be recognised by the Lochcarron, but it appears in the records of the official Lochcarron Museum.

1994 Vivienne invited by Littlewoods catalogue to contribute a mail-order range.

In May Vivienne wins the first Institute of Contemporary Art Award for outstanding Contribution to Contemporary Culture.

Vivienne designed Ancien Regime costumes in carpet to celebrate the founding of the carpet company Brintons, these designs were sued for the carpets advertising campaign in September and again in January.

1996 Westwood's menswear line labelled 'Man' was launched in January, in Milan showing the Autumn/Winter 1996/97 collection.

In the Spring Vivienne's broadcast of a three-part channel 4 series, Painted Ladies is aired.

1998 Westwood launched her debut fragrance, Boudoir, developed in conjunction with the world-famous 'nose', Martin Gras of Dragoco.

Vivienne Westwood Ltd was awarded the Queen's Award for Export in recognition of the company's growing export market.

In November Westwood organised a charity event for AIDS Benefit at the Opera House, Berlin.

1999 Vivienne Westwood Ltd launched The Red Label in the United States in February. Which coincided with the opening of her first shop in New York.

In January Westwood held the largest single designer Fashion Show ever to be held world-wide in Glasgow at a charity event for AIDS Benefit.

Westwood made an additional line of accessories in particular her Eyewear collection and the 'Coquetteries' Body and bath line to complement the Boudoir perfume.

2001 Vivienne Westwood is the first designer to be honoured at the Moet & Chandon Fashion Tribute, for designers who have profoundly influenced Great Britain's lifestyles.

2002 Vivienne Westwood celebrates 100 years of Marmite with the launch of a limited edition T-shirt.