Jeff Banks made director of Vivienne Westwood’s fashion company before her death

The late designer’s husband, Andreas Kronthaler, was also made a director and secretary of her property business.

Alex Green
Friday 30 December 2022 15:21 GMT
Dame Vivienne Westwood (Yui Mok/PA)
Dame Vivienne Westwood (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

Fellow fashion designer Jeff Banks was made a director of Dame Vivienne Westwood’s fashion company two weeks before her death.

The Welsh designer and TV presenter, 79, a close friend, was appointed to the role on December 16, according to filings at Companies House.

Dame Vivienne, known as the Godmother of Punk, died on Thursday “peacefully, and surrounded by her family in Clapham, south London”, her representatives said.

The pre-tax profits of Vivienne Westwood Limited were £3.9 million at the end of 2020, and revenues were £42 million.

Filings also show her husband and creative partner Andreas Kronthaler was made a director and secretary of her property business on December 6.

In a tribute on Friday, Banks said: “It is with great sadness I recognise the passing of my dear friend Vivienne. My heart goes out to her family and husband Andreas.

“This is a moment in history. Someone who forced fashion forward in a crucible of heat combined with an unswerving dedication to fairness, justice and the salvation of our planet.

“A true originator who will forever stand head and shoulders above her contemporaries and take her place forever in the highest echelons of her craft.

“Rest in peace Vivienne. You did us all a great and everlasting service.”

Tributes also came from Sir Paul McCartney and his fashion designer daughter Stella, both also environmental and animal rights activists.

Former Beatle Sir Paul wrote: “Goodbye Vivienne Westwood. A ballsy lady who rocked the fashion world and stood defiantly for what was right. Love Paul.”

Stella, who founded her own eponymous luxury fashion house in 2001, added: “I cannot believe I am writing this… Today, we lost one of the most rare British icons of fashion ever.

“Vivienne Westwood inspired my career as a designer with bravery and bollocks. She invented punk.”

Supermodels Naomi Campbell and Bella Hadid, who both walked during shows by the late designer, also paid tribute.

Campbell described her as “the Original Queen of Fashion” and a “wife, mother, grandmother and friend”.

She added: “YOUR LEGACY IS JUST BEGINNING, and it will be etched in stone for Forever, as your contribution to our industry is immeasurable.

“They could not make enough awards of what you truly deserved.”

Hadid hailed the designer as the most “epic human being that has walked this earth… my inspiration and idol in all things”.

The Pretenders’ frontwoman Chrissie Hynde, who worked at Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s boutique in punk’s early days, sent her love to her friend.

“Vivienne is gone and the world is already a less interesting place. Love you Viv,” Hynde tweeted.

In an earlier statement, Dame Vivienne’s husband 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 statement from her representatives added: “Vivienne continued to do the things she loved, up until the last moment, designing, working on her art, writing her book, and changing the world for the better.

“She led an amazing life.

“Her innovation and impact over the last 60 years has been immense and will continue into the future.”

It also said that The Vivienne Foundation, a not-for-profit company founded by Dame Vivienne, her sons and grand-daughter in late 2022, will launch next year to “honour, protect and continue the legacy of Vivienne’s life, design and activism”.

Dame Vivienne, who was born in Cheshire in 1941, is largely accepted as being responsible for bringing punk and new wave fashion into the mainstream with her eccentric creations.

Her designs were regularly worn by high-profile individuals including Dita Von Teese, who wore a purple Westwood wedding gown to marry Marilyn Manson, and Princess Eugenie, who wore three Westwood designs for various elements of the wedding of the then Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Dame Vivienne was vocal in her support of a number of social and political initiatives, including campaigning for the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is fighting to avoid being sent to the US to face charges under the Espionage Act.

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