The name Vivienne Westwood is synonymous with iconoclasm, with insurrection, with the subversion of norms and the daring, brash intrusion of punk. The iconic designer died on December 29, 2022 at the age of 81. Her legacy is effectively known—and very well deserved. (If you might be unfamiliar, start educating oneself right here.)

But upon hearing the information of her passing, my thoughts failed to instantly convert to Sex, the notorious London boutique she opened in 1971 with Malcom McLaren, the equally notorious supervisor of the Sex Pistols (who, yeah, she dressed). Nor did I discover myself pondering her activist get the job done, her afterwards collections, or her large and simple influence on vogue about the last fifty percent a century.

english punk rock band sex pistols

McLaren and Westwood in 1977.

Mirrorpix//Getty Visuals

Alternatively, I located myself thinking of a pearl necklace adorned with Westwood’s Orb emblem, and how that just one necklace exploded the trappings of standard masculinity for the youthful gentlemen of Gen-Z, leaving in their place a new and fascinating strategy to fashion that will (ideally) guidebook them for several years to appear. For the reason that even though she’s no extended with us, what Dame Vivienne Westwood means for menswear in 2023 is independence: tradition and tailoring turned on their heads, androgyny and gender decoded and broken down.

vivienne westwood backstage lfwm june 2017

Westwood in 2017.

Ian Gavan//Getty Photographs

The initial time that Westwood caught my eye in my grownup daily life was in 2020. It was by thirst-trapping TikTokkers: young, L.A.-based mostly princes with hundreds of thousands of followers ardently sporting pearl necklaces with the iconic Orb appeal, which was very first built in 1987. It was an epidemic in just a pandemic: cisgender, heterosexual teenagers and early 20-somethings who experienced constantly offered as masculine have been out of the blue donning solitary-strand pearls.

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All over the place I went that year, the Westwood pearl necklace was current. Boys paired them with gray sweatpants and white tank tops. Girls, myself involved, wore them with every little thing from dresses to sweaters to button-downs. That necklace in that year was a symbol of getting in the know. If men and women couldn’t find the money for authentic ones, effectively, there ended up total TikTok series posted on the place to obtain quality fakes. It was all so amazing for the reason that it was Vivienne Westwood, certain. It was even cooler mainly because it was a step towards the a little bit extra genderfluid earth of manner that the present second fosters, that Westwood has generally inspired.

Vivienne Westwood Mini Bas Reduction Necklace

Mini Bas Relief Necklace

Vivienne Westwood Mini Bas Reduction Necklace

Immediately after the pearl necklaces, microtrend that they were, stopped becoming entrance and center in just about every influencer’s information, Westwood’s essence lingered in the air. It was as if, instantly empowered and unafraid, boys were undertaking a lot more. A pinky nail painted below or there. A long skirt sported, sometimes. Androgyny was seeping into our skin, and Vivienne Westwood was foremost the revolution.

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It was unattainable to overlook boys becoming a lot less rigid in their trend, far more prone to wearing necklaces just after breaking the first ice with that pearl Orb chain. As Gen-Z—already dictating browsing cycles and main trends—became acquainted with and accustomed to vogue, Westwood stayed on the strategies of a lot of tongues. Adult men I know who couldn’t inform you the variance in between a bomber jacket and a racing jacket know her name, recognize her emblem, and could probably even guess if a scrap of tartan fabric belongs to her. From TikTok to Timothée Chalamet, it is amazing for great fellas to twist conventional gender norms in this era, and it is in no modest element since of her.

american actor timothée chalamet during the photocall for the presentation of the film bones and all, at the hotel de la ville rome italy, november 12th, 2022 photo by marilla siciliaarchivio marilla siciliamondadori portfolio via getty images

Timothée Chalamet putting on a Vivienne Westwood pearl choker and sweater at “Bones and All” picture call in Rome.

Mondadori Portfolio

With taboos and custom peeled back, you merely cannot ignore to the effect Vivienne Westwood has had on youth trend, even now—and the effect that that 1 pearl necklace has experienced on the guys of Gen-Z. When such a customarily feminine signifier is instantly being embraced by the boys, followed in go well with by a lot more androgynous silhouettes, textures, shades, and designs…well, it shows us that the long term of fashion is malleable and morphable, and is straying from the guidelines in a quite punk way. A incredibly Vivienne Westwood way.

Trishna Rikhy is the Affiliate Design Commerce Editor at Esquire. Earlier, her producing has appeared in Vogue Runway, PAPER Journal, V Magazine, V Male, and more. She is based in NYC, but can in all probability be found anywhere the strongest cup of espresso is.