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Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood's nearly four-decade-long (and still going) design career is a testament to the power that shock, rebellion, sheer eccentricity—and a little thing called talent—can wield in the world of fashion. The flame-haired designer began her sartorial rabble-rousing in 1970, joining forces with partner and Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren to craft the seminal look of London's burgeoning punk movement through various incarnations of their shop at 430 King's Road. Pieces that sold in the most famed of these—Sex in 1974 and Seditionaries in 1975—are highly prized (and accordingly highly priced) items for vintage collectors to this day. Westwood carried on the subversive and satirical spirit of those early years—bondage trousers, massive platform shoes, slogan T-shirts—even as she hit the runways of Paris and eventually broke ranks personally and professionally with McLaren in 1983. Over the years she expanded her design vocabulary to weave that world of safety pins and Union Jacks with the historical romance of tartan kilts, pinstriped tailoring, corsets, and Watteau gowns. Her full contribution to fashion was commemorated in 2004 with a retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum. But that look back in no way signaled an end. In spite of her penchant for scandal—this is a woman who famously wore a sheer outfit sans underwear to receive her OBE from the Queen in 1992—Westwood has shown herself to be a shrewd businesswoman. Her four lines (Gold Label, Red Label, Anglomania, and Man) and a full range of Westwood accessories and fragrances are sold at stores worldwide, with marked popularity in Japan, as well as at her own boutiques in Paris, Hong Kong, Moscow, Seoul, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, and London. And she still sells out of the old King's Road shop, now called World's End. Westwood and McLaren's incendiary-but-commercial fashion legacy also lives on with their son, Joe Corre, who founded Agent Provocateur, a lingerie label that stays true to its name.

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