When the AW 2009 shows kicked off in New York last week and Marc Jacobs sent neon-spandex clad, puffy-haired models a la Stephen Sprouse cruising down the catwalk in his tribute to 80s New York, the message was clear: the fashion world, come fall, will not be abandoning its everything-eighties obsession next season. Kristin Knox reports from Vivienne Westwood’s AW09 at London Fashion Week and looks back at the grand Dame’s career.

So as the sartorial circus makes its way across the Atlantic and descends on London for the second installment of the four-part haul known as fashion week, time should be taken and respects should be paid to a certain British designer without whom the zeitgeist of the eighties and hence the tweaked-out Sex-Pistol-meets-Cindy-Lauper-channeling models trolling this season’s catwalks may never have been.

And that would be Dame Vivienne Westwood, who, year after year, showing her main line in Paris and Red Label in London, has had the whole fashion world—her signature regalia orb—in her legendary hand. So as London Fashion Week gets underway, here’s a look back at some of the Dame’s most historic collections and the evolution of her style which have made her the queen of British fashion that she is today.

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