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Welsh designer made director of Vivienne Westwood’s fashion empire before her death

30 Dec 2022 2 minute read
Vivienne Westwood (L) Photo Jonathan Brady PA Images and Jeff Banks Photo Chris Phutully marked CC BY 2.0

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

The 79-year-old Welsh designer and TV presenter was appointed the role on December 16, according to Companies House.

Ebbw Vale born Jeff Banks founded the fashion chain Warehouse in the late 70’s and became a close friend of Dame Vivienne Westwood’s in the mid 80’s when she began carving out a career that changed the face of fashion.

Her rebellious, colourful and unapologetically political designs led her to be known as ‘The High Priestess of Punk’.

Dame Vivienne died peacefully on Thursday surrounded by her family in south London at the age of 81.

Filings also show her husband and creative partner Andreas Kronthaler was made a director and secretary of her property business a few weeks before her death.

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

‘A moment in history’

The fashion empire’s new director, Jeff Banks presented over 320 episodes of BBC’s The Clothes Show and went on to design fashion for Prada, Sainsbury’s, Top Shop along with his own corporate clothing line.

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.

‘Everlasting service’

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

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”.

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.”

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