Spotlight, 3 January 2023
A trailblazer, a fashion icon and one of the King’s Road original mavericks, Dame Vivienne Westwood sadly passed away at the end of December 2022 aged 81.
Westwood left her life as a schoolteacher in the 70s and landed on the King’s Road which quickly became the home of her first shop – Let it Rock – at number 430, which she opened with her partner Malcom McLaren. It was here that this fearless woman became synonymous with counter culture and the punk revolution of the 70s. Together Westwood and McLaren flouted traditional fashion expectations, placing the King’s Road on the map as a hotspot for rule breakers. The shop later rebranded as ‘Sex’, followed by ‘Seditionaries’ and then finally, ‘World’s End’, as it is known today; famed for a clock that rotates anticlockwise – of which you’d expect nothing less from the rebellious designer.
Shop regulars included Glen Matlock – an artist who arrived after a pair of brothel creepers and left with a job; firstly with a role in store and consequently, the bass-player of the globally-adored band that became the Sex Pistols. He worked alongside Sid Vicious, later becoming a band mate, and Chrissie Hynde, who formed the band ‘The Pretenders. Not only was Vivienne Westwood therefore credited for her wardrobe-shocking creations, but also creating the ‘hippest place in London to spend a Saturday afternoon’.
Decades in the public eye, The Godmother of Punk not only dressed the likes of Dita Von Teese, Marion Cotillard and Princess Eugenie, but defiantly used her designs to challenge politics of the moment. Her extraordinary legacy will live forever and her outrageous brilliance will continue to inspire. For those wishing to pay their respects and leave their well wishes, the clock continues to tick and visitors can share flowers and messages at 430 King’s Road.