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Punk Fashion Icon Vivienne Westwood Dead At 81

Fashion designer and punk icon Vivienne Westwood has died at the age of 81.

Westwood, who helped popularize the British punk and new wave movements with her clothing, breathed her last peacefully, surrounded by her family, at her home in Clapham, South London, on Thursday, her representatives said in a statement.

Westwood came to public notice when she made clothes for the boutique that she and Malcolm McLaren ran on King’s Road, which became known as SEX. Their ability to synthesize clothing and music shaped the 1970s U.K. punk scene, which was dominated by McLaren’s band, the Sex Pistols.

Westwood opened four shops in London and eventually expanded throughout Britain and the world, selling an increasingly varied range of merchandise.

She was presented the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth in 1992.

Chrissie Hynde, Yoko Ono, Massive Attack, Slowdive‘s Rachel Goswell, Boy George, the Avalanches, Leon Vynehall, Garbage, Bananarama, the Blessed Madonna, and Maggie Rogers paid tribute to the late fashion designer.

Former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock wrote on Twitter that it was “a privilege to have rubbed shoulders with her in the mid ’70s at the birth of punk and the waves it created that still resound today for the disaffected.”

(Photo: Manfred Werner/Tsui)

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