Tributes to Dame Vivienne Westwood have poured in following the death of the “undisputed Queen of British fashion”.

She died “peacefully and surrounded by her family” in London, her fashion house said in a statement.

Westwood, 81, made her name with her controversial punk and new wave styles in the 1970s and went on to dress some of the biggest stars in fashion.

Fellow designer Marc Jacobs said he was “heartbroken” and that she “never failed to surprise and to shock”.

Paying tribute to her life and work, he wrote on Instagram: “You did it first. Always… I continue to learn from your words and all of your extraordinary creations.”

Supermodel Naomi Campbell, who famously tripped while walking one of Westwood’s runways in nine-inch platform heels, called the designer a “force of nature”.

In a touching tribute, she recalled her own journey from admiring the designer from afar as a schoolgirl to working with Westwood and calling her a friend.

Fellow model Bella Hadid described the designer as “the sun” of the fashion industry – and said she was grateful to have been in her orbit.

“To the coolest, most fun, incredible, humble, creative, badass, intelligent, EPIC human being that has walked this earth… rest in love and Rest In Peace,” Hadid wrote.

After the announcement, Westwood’s 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.”

Westwood came to prominence with her androgynous designs, slogan T-shirts and irreverent attitude towards the establishment.

She was also known as a staunch activist and brought causes she cared about, like climate change, to the catwalk.

The designer was made a dame for services to fashion in 2006.

Describing her outfit on the day – a black cap perched on the back of her bright orange hair, a dress with campaign badges and tiny silver horns on her head – she said she was supposed to look “a bit like Che Guevara, an urban guerrilla”, the prominent figure of the Cuban Revolution in 1950s, who later became a symbol of rebellion.

Derbyshire-born Westwood worked as a primary school teacher, before setting up clothing shop Let It Rock on King’s Road in Chelsea with her then partner Malcolm McLaren in the early 1970s.

The business was later renamed Sex and McLaren began managing a punk rock band made up of shop regulars – the Sex Pistols. They shot to fame in 1976 wearing Westwood and McLaren’s designs.

One shop worker was a young American who went on to front the Pretenders. Paying tribute, musician Chrissie Hynde said with Westwood gone, the world was “already a less interesting place”.

British designer Jeff Banks said he recognised the death of his dear friend with great sadness, calling it a “moment in history”.

Banks, who was recently appointed a director at Westwood’s fashion house, said she was a “true originator who will forever stand head and shoulder above her contemporaries and take her place forever in the highest echelons of her craft”.

Artist Tracey Emin said Westwood challenged and criticised her, but loved and cared about her too. They were friends for more than 20 years.

Singer Boy George, who first met Westwood in the early 1980s, called her “great and inspiring” and “without question… the undisputed Queen of British fashion”.

Music legend Sir Paul McCartney called her “a ballsy lady who rocked the fashion world and stood defiantly for what was right”.

His daughter fashion designer Stella McCartney credited Westwood with inspiring her career “as a designer with bravery” who “invented historic fashion design moments that woke us all up and shook the industry to its core.”

It was a “privilege to have rubbed shoulders” with her in the 70s at the birth of punk, said Sex Pistol bassist Glen Matlock. Describing her motivation, he said: “She wanted to stir things. But everything she did was done really well.”

And fellow fashion designer and Spice Girl Victoria Beckham said she was a “legendary designer and activist”.

Actress Kim Cattrall described her on Instagram as a “true genius who never lost her Northern grit”. She shared a tale of Westwood’s “generosity and kindness” – creating three dresses for the Sex and the City star in three days so she could attend premieres of a film, after others’ designs were unsuitable.

Supermodel Claudia Schiffer wrote that Westwood’s “unique voice will be irreplaceable and will be missed”, while singer Billy Idol – who found fame on the London punk music scene – tweeted: “RIP it will take me a bit to take this in…”.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, which houses some of he

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