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Julian Assange to apply for prison leave to attend Vivienne Westwood’s funeral, says wife | World News

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is to request leave from prison to attend the funeral of his friend Dame Vivienne Westwood, according to his wife.

Dame Vivienne, known as the Godmother of Punk, died aged 81 on Thursday surrounded by her family in south London, prompting Mr Assange to search for a way to say goodbye, despite being behind bars in London’s Belmarsh prison as he fights extradition to the US.

His wife Stella Assange told Australia’s Nine Media of the funeral: “Julian’s going to put in a request to be able to attend.”

Mr Assange and Dame Vivienne had been friends for more than a decade, with the designer a vocal supporter throughout his time in the Ecuadorian embassy and prison.

FILE - Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood sits suspended in a giant bird cage in protest against the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the U.S., outside the Old Bailey court, in London on July 21, 2020. Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, at 81. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
Image:
Vivienne Westwood outside the Old Bailey, ahead of Julian Assange’s court battle against extradition to the US. Pic: AP

She even dressed as a canary and suspended herself inside a giant birdcage outside The Old Bailey in July 2020 to protest his potential extradition.

The designer’s death prompted the WikiLeaks founder to issue his first statement since being imprisoned in 2019.

Released by Mrs Assange, it said: “Vivienne was a Dame and a pillar of the anti-establishment. Bold, creative, thoughtful and a good friend. The best of Britain. She will be missed terribly by me and many others.”

Mrs Assange wore a dress designed by Dame Vivienne and her husband Andreas Kronthaler when she married the 51-year-old at the prison in a small ceremony in March.

Stella Moris, partner of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, arrives at HMP Belmarsh prison before her wedding to Assange, in London, Britain, March 23, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
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Stella Assange before her wedding to Julian, in March this year

Mrs Assange said following the death: “Vivienne was a rebel at heart. Julian and I loved her company.

“Her gift to us took our wedding to the next level, so there was a lot of attention, and she just had this incredible talent for visuals and for messaging.”

She added: “Our wonderful friend Vivienne Westwood has left us. A fierce campaigner and a true altruist, she fought to #FreeAssange and for humanity’s future.

“Vivienne, you remain an inspiration. Your greatness will live on.”

Eccentric creations

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.

Details of her funeral are not yet known.

Fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood has died at the age of 81 | Ents & Arts News

Legendary British fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood has died at the age of 81.

She died today in Clapham, surrounded by her family, a statement said.

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 Cheshire-born designer was also well known for campaigning on issues such as pollution and climate change, and supporting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

She once dressed up as Margaret Thatcher for a magazine cover, and drove a white tank near the home of former prime minister David Cameron to protest against fracking.

Dame Vivienne also showed her rebellious nature when receiving an OBE from the Queen in 1992.

She turned up without underwear – a fact she proved with a twirl of her skirt for photographers.

“The only reason I am in fashion is to destroy the word ‘conformity’,” she said in her biography.

“Nothing is interesting to me unless it’s got that element.”