LONDON — WWD’s legendary late publisher and editorial director John B. Fairchild described Vivienne Westwood as a “designer’s designer” and her peers certainly agree.
Designers and fashion industry figures have been paying tribute to Westwood, who died Thursday at age 81, describing her not only as an iconoclast but as a great teacher and role model. Fairchild considered Westwood one of the world’s six greatest designers, along with the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Emanuel Ungaro and Christian Lacroix.
Andrew Groves, professor of fashion design at University of Westminster, said, “Last night, I was thinking about all the people who would not have gone into fashion if it hadn’t been for Vivienne. If you were a working-class kid growing up in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Vivienne was an absolute inspiration who made you believe you, too, could be a part of that world.
“She demonstrated that you didn’t have to come from the ‘right’ family or attend the ‘right’ school or college; you could do it on your own terms. Without her we wouldn’t have had Galliano or McQueen, or the thousands of other over the last 40 years that she inspired to be creative and in her words ‘to get a life’.”