Fashion icon Vivienne Westwood dead aged 81

Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood / Michael Putland/GettyImages

Legendary British fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood has died aged 81. A statement said she died on Thursday Dec. 29, in London, surrounded by her family.

Dame Vivienne found fame in the 1970s when she brought punk fashions into the mainstream, running a boutique on London's King's Road alongside Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. She went on to establish a global fashion brand which today has stores in the UK, France, Italy, America and Asia.

"Vivienne Westwood died today, peacefully and surrounded by her family, in Clapham, South London. The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better," her fashion house tweeted.

Her husband and creative partner Andreas Kronthaler said: "I will continue with Vivienne in my heart.

"We have been working until the end and she has given me plenty of things to get on with. Thank you darling."

The Derbyshire-born designer was also well known for her campaigning - standing up for issues such as pollution and climate change, as well as supporting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.