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Farewell to Vivienne Westwood, Style’s Insurgent With a Trigger



LONDON — The invitation to the memorial service for Vivienne Westwood got here with a final particular command from the late designer herself: “When in doubt, dress up!”

The congregation at Southwark Cathedral on Thursday afternoon — the eve of London Style Week — had clearly taken these phrases to coronary heart. Attendees spilled into the historic churchyard in white pinstripe bustiers, devil-horn tiaras and strings of assertion pearls. Between majestic bouquets of purple heather, thistles and mimosa impressed by the Scottish Highlands, the pews heaved with splashes of daring Westwood tartan, embroidered bomber and biker jackets, PVC platforms, sequined tuxedos, slashes of coloured eyeliner and oversize pink high hats.

Designers together with Victoria Beckham, Paul Smith, Zandra Rhodes and Marc Jacobs arrived to pay tribute to Ms. Westwood, who died in December at 81. So, too, did the supermodel Kate Moss and the Vogue editors Anna Wintour and Edward Enninful. In different phrases, the nice and the nice of style royalty had come for a ultimate farewell to the queen of British style, an anti-establishment, anticapitalist pioneer of punk who famously accepted her Order of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace in 1992 in a finely tailor-made darkish grey skirt go well with — and no knickers.

“How can I possibly chart the cultural impact of one of this country’s greatest designers?” the actress Helena Bonham Carter questioned from the pulpit. Her eulogy ranged from her first-ever buy of a Vivienne Westwood merchandise at age 15 (a white shirt from the designer’s Pirate assortment and an identical cummerbund so she might appear to be Adam Ant) to the “obscene” quantity of garments she owned by Ms. Westwood (seven clothes within the Cocotte model alone), and included an anecdote in regards to the time a reporter requested why she wore solely Westwood on the purple carpet.

“Because she’s a genius,” Ms. Bonham Carter recalled saying in response. “You have no idea how many ideas and choices have gone into everything she designs. She gives us instant body engineering with no lipo or diet.” She referred to as Ms. Westwood “a true feminist and lover of women” who understood the facility of protest and empowerment, channeled by each style design and a lifetime of activism.

“While Karl Lagerfeld tried to marry his cat, you drove a tank onto the prime minister’s front lawn as part of an anti-fracking protest,” she added, to laughter from the gang. “Not many fashion designers do that.”

The service started with Abba’s “Slipping Through My Fingers” performed by the Arnfield Brass, a band from northern England that rehearses lower than a mile from the Derbyshire village of Tintwistle, the place Ms. Westwood grew up. Movie star buddies like Chrissie Hynde and Nick Cave sang in honor of Ms. Westwood, whereas Gordon Swire, her brother, shared a transferring collection of video interviews he recorded of his sister earlier than she died during which she recalled an extremely glad childhood within the inexperienced rolling Derbyshire hills — the place she is now buried and which she referred to as “the most beautiful place in the world.”

Many members of the family spoke movingly in regards to the designer’s life past style, together with her husband, Andreas Kronthaler, a onetime pupil and longtime design accomplice, who described the second he realized he can be along with his “darling girl” perpetually (she was sporting, he recalled, a skintight chocolate-brown stretch cat go well with and pink leopard jacket with trailing silk scarves for a Vienna museum journey), and her sons, Ben Westwood and Joseph Corré. Mr. Corré proudly described a mom who was “a wonderful teacher and freedom fighter” and wished to alter the world for the higher, including that she had left him with a really particular and moderately formidable to-do record from her deathbed in December: “Stop war, stop climate change and end capitalism.”

The memorial spanned the exceptional lifetime of a self-taught iconoclast who modified modern conceptions of how clothes might be used to precise — or insurgent in opposition to — social and political norms and form group identification. Little surprise that this season of London Style Week is being held in her honor. Ms. Westwood’s household has began a nonprofit, the Vivienne Basis, that may deal with points associated to local weather change, conflict, human rights and capitalism.

The ultimate tribute of the service got here from Cora Corré, Ms. Westwood’s granddaughter, who stood resplendent in her grandmother’s designs as she urged the gang to proceed honoring a legacy rooted in rise up and questioning the established order.

“We can only really touch on the characteristics of the phenomenon that is Vivienne Westwood: a grandmother, mother, sister and friend, a teacher, an artist and a designer,” Ms. Corré mentioned. “It will never be enough.”

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