Vivienne Westwood, 81, Dies; Brought Provocative Punk Style to High Fashion

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Ms. Westwood met her second husband, the designer Andreas Kronthaler, in 1989, while she was teaching fashion design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and he was a student; they married in 1993. Mr. Kronthaler, who went on to become the creative director of her company, survives her, as do her sons, Mr. Corré, a founder of the lingerie company Agent Provocateur, and Ben Westwood, a photographer; and two grandchildren.

Ms. Westwood was named designer of the year in 1990 and 1991 by the British Fashion Council and was honored for outstanding achievement in fashion at the British Fashion Awards in 2007. When she received the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II in 1992, she characteristically defied convention by wearing no underwear to the ceremony, famously giving a twirl for the paparazzi. In 2006 she was made a dame on the queen’s New Year’s Honors list

Ms. Westwood’s clothes featured prominently in popular culture, including in the 2008 film adaptation of the television series “Sex and the City.” When the British actress Kate Winslet was nominated for an Academy Award for “Titanic,” she wore a Vivienne Westwood gown to the Oscar ceremony.

Throughout her life, Ms. Westwood remained, as The New York Times noted in 2017, “a vocal environmental and political activist whose collections are always manifestoes and calls to rally.” At a show that year, she urged her audience to convert to green energy and focus their attention on the environment.

In 2020, Ms. Westwood dressed herself in a bright yellow outfit and locked herself inside a giant bird cage outside a London court to protest the jailing of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. “I am Julian Assange,” she declared. “I am the canary in the cage. If I die down the coal mine from poisonous gas, that’s the signal.”

“What I am doing now, it still is punk,” Ms. Westwood wrote in her memoir. “It’s still about shouting about injustice and making people think, even if it’s uncomfortable.

“I’ll always be punk in that sense.”

Danielle Cruz contributed reporting.