Dame Vivienne Westwood’s widower, 25 years her junior, led mourners at the star-studded memorial for the late designer yesterday.
In tribute to the godmother of punk, who died peacefully in December aged 81, many A-listers wore classic Westwood designs, injecting bursts of colour, tartan or flamboyant patterns into the service in London yesterday.
Alongside celebrity guests such as Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham and Stormzy, Dame Vivienne’s widower Andreas Kronthaler, 57, cut a sombre figure in a grey and burgundy scarf-like jacket when stepping out at Southwark Cathedral.
Andreas, Dame Vivienne’s third husband, and 25 years her junior, met the fashion designer at the Vienna School of Applied Arts where she was a 47-year-old professor and he was a student, aged 23.
Dame Vivienne spoke in the past how their professional partnership worked because her calmness balanced his ‘hysteria’, while she was happy for bisexual Kronthaler to have ‘total freedom’ in their marriage.
Dame Vivienne Westwood’s husband put on a solemn display as he attended the star-studded memorial for the late designer
Following news of her death, he wrote: ‘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.’
Andreas himself is Austrian – born in 1966 in Tyrol and the son of a blacksmith. In 1980, he attended art school in Graz, Austria, where he spent five years training to be a jeweller.
But during this time, he also began to experiment with fashion, making clothes at home to be sold to friends and in local stores.
He studied Industrial Design at the Vienna School of Applied Art and switched to fashion design, where he met Dame Vivienne.
At the time, Andreas was just 23-years-old, while she was 47 and teaching three days a week. But there was clearly something about him that piqued her attention.
Dame Vivienne later told the Guardian, ‘It’s very difficult to find a student who you’d give a 100 out of a 100 – maybe it’s possible, but I haven’t met them yet. But in the case of Andreas, he was completely off the scale.’
Over the course of the next year, Andreas created a series of dresses inspired by the Renaissance. Circular and over-length, they could be worn in numerous ways by incorporating a belt.
And clearly impressed, a year later, Dame Vivienne invited him to London to work for her firm.
Andreas Kronthaler (pictured in 1997 with the late designer), Dame Vivienne’s third husband, and 25 years her junior, met the fashion designer at the Vienna School of Applied Arts where she was a 47-year-old professor and he was a student, aged 23
Dame Vivienne (pictured in 2016 with her husband) spoke in the past how their professional partnership worked because her calmness balanced his ‘hysteria’, while she was happy for bisexual Kronthaler to have ‘total freedom’ in their marriage
Andreas (pictured left in 2018) himself is Austrian – born in 1966 in Tyrol and the son of a blacksmith. In 1980, he attended art school in Graz, Austria, where he spent five years training to be a jeweller
Their first joint work was the Spring–Summer 1991 collection named Cut and Slash.
In this collection, Andreas presented a Renaissance-inspired gown that became known as the Sun Wheel dress.
Becoming romantically intertwined, the couple then married in 1993.
In their domestic realm, Dame Vivienne apparently did the cooking, with Andreas telling the Guardian she was a ‘lovely cook but so bossy’.
He, on the other hand, did the housework as a way to relax. He added that she knew that she loved him but didn’t need him as she was so independent.
He also told GQ how Vivienne used to look after him if he was ever ill.
He said: ‘She used to say, “Go and get the sherry out the garage.” So I’d get a bottle of sherry and some ham and some cheese and a loaf of Hovis and I’d make a whole mountain of toasties.
‘Once a week we went down the pub. They loved her there. Really, they were looking for her whenever she came in. And, you know, she taught me a lot.’
Andreas Kronthaler and Dame Vivienne Westwood at Royal Ascot in 1995. The couple were husband and wife as well as collaborative partners
Andreas Kronthaler and Dame Vivienne Westwood attend the Vivienne Westwood attending the after party during Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring Summer 2022
In 2019, Andreas – who is thought to be bisexual – also revealed what kept their marriage strong.
He told the Evening Standard that the secret to marriage is not to ‘expect anything’ from your partner, saying of Dame Vivienne: ‘She never cared if I got p***** or went out.
‘She wouldn’t even ask; she was never interested in these things, control. It was total freedom.
‘Maybe it was because she knew that I would come home and end up beside her. Perhaps I always just gave her this security, as well.’
And his wife was in total agreement, telling the Daily Telegraph, ‘I’ve never been interested – I’ve never worried – what he’s up to or anything. I let him go – not let him, I mean he goes – on holiday by himself.’
In their creative life, the couple also managed to make things work.
While Andreas was initially a silent design partner and creative director of her firm, in 2016 she acknowledged his commitment and influence on the Gold Label collection by renaming the line Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood.
Following Brexit in 2020, he used his design skills to explore his position as a European living and working in Britain.
Vivienne Westwood kissing her husband Andreas at her Autumn/Winter 2015/2016 women’s ready-to-wear collection during Paris Fashion Week
The couple hand-in-hand on the catwalk after presenting Vivienne Westwood’s Spring/Summer 2015 menswear collection at Milan Men’s Fashion Week
Nowadays, he often posts about his work and life on Instagram to over 70,000 followers.
In 2020, he shared photos of their south London home with a dated laundry room and overgrown garden.
The couple were also frequently spotted out together at fashion events and on London dates.
In December, MailOnline revealed how Dame Vivienne handed over the reins of her £70million business empire on the eve of her death.
She put her friend and fellow designer Jeff Banks, 79, in charge of her clothing company just before Christmas.
Mr Banks is now a director of Vivienne Westwood Ltd, according to a filing to Companies House on December 22. The profitable firm holds cash and assets of more than £50million.
On the same day, in a suggestion that she may have been gravely ill, her third husband Andreas was made a director and secretary of his wife’s property business, which is worth £18million.
Victoria Beckham attended the memorial service for Dame Vienne Westwood in London yesterday
Supermodel Kate Moss wore a caftan-style dress with a blazer and her daughter Lila carried a red Westwood bag
Lady Amelia Windsor, pictured left, carries a Westwood bag as she attends a memorial for the late designer. Actor Richard E Grant, pictured right, wore a Union Jack scarf and netted headpiece for the occasion
Alongside celebrity guests such as Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham and Stormzy, Dame Vivienne’s widower Andreas Kronthaler, 57, cut a sombre figure in a grey and burgundy scarf-like jacket when stepping out at Southwark Cathedral
Her two sons, one an erotic photographer and the other the founder of the Agent Provocateur lingerie brand, have no formal role in their mother’s business but may inherit her £150million fortune.
Dame Vivienne was determined to retain control of her fashion house, after Armani and other big names were bought by private-equity firms.
She said previously: ‘I own my own company, so I’ve never had businessmen telling me what to do or getting worried if something doesn’t sell.
‘I’ve always had my own access to the public, because I started off making my clothes for a little shop and so I’ve always had people buying them. I could always sell a few, even if I couldn’t sell a lot, and somehow my business grew because people happened to like it’.
For the memorial yesterday, former Spice Girl and designer Ms Beckham, 48, wore a skin-tight black dress with a high neck, long sleeves and a leg slit, while British Vogue editor Edward Enninful dressed in an all-black suit and blazer.
Supermodel Moss, 49, wore a black dress with a floral design and velvet jacket, while her daughter Lila paired her outfit with a red Westwood bag.
Actress Helena Bonham Carter, 56, who has worn Dame Vivienne’s punk clothes on many red carpets, paid tribute to the late designer in a red and purple full tartan skirt and blazer set paired with a Westwood pearl necklace.
She also gave a touching eulogy for the designer, The Mirror reported, while the event was a thoughtful and musical affair.
Opera singer Maria Ladurner and Ian Keatley, director of music at the cathedral in London Bridge, performed a rendition of How Beautiful Are The Feet.
Dame Vivienne’s brother Gordon Swire gave a eulogy and her son Ben Westwood read William Shakespear’s poem Winter. Her son Joseph Corré, an activist, also shared a few words about his mother.
The public memorial followed a private funeral during which the fashion icon was laid to rest.