Beckham, McCartney among stars paying tribute to Westwood

Celebrities including Victoria Beckham, Naomi Campbell and "Sex and the City" star Kim Cattrall were on Friday among the stars paying tribute to Vivienne Westwood following the death of the iconic British designer.

"Today we lost one of the most rare British icons of fashion ever," designer Stella McCartney wrote on Instagram, adding that she "inspired my career with bravery and bollocks".

"She invented punk."

Westwood's family announced her death on Thursday, aged 81.

Her punk style defined a generation in the 1970s.

She went on to become one of the biggest figures in the world of high fashion, as well as an outspoken advocate for political and environmental causes.

Fellow designer Beckham said Westwood was a "legendary designer and activist".

Another big name of the fashion world, Marc Jacobs, wrote: "(She) did it first. Always. Incredible style with brilliant and meaningful substance."

Supermodel Naomi Campbell, who famously fell while wearing towering heels during a Westwood show in the 1990s, called her "a force of nature" and said her "regal and ground-breaking cuts" were still being copied.

Among Westwood's many big-name commissions was designing wedding dresses for TV show "Sex and the City".

Cattrall described her on Instagram as a "true genius who never lost her northern grit" and told a story of how Westwood helped her out with dresses for a premier when she was caught short.

"I've never forgotten her generosity and kindness in making that happen and saving the day," Cattrall wrote on Instagram. "RIP Vivienne. You are a legend."

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals charity (PETA) said Westwood had "pushed fashion forward" as an early adopter of ethical couture, banning fur from her lines in 2007.

She appeared naked (apart from a shower cap) in a PETA campaign against wasting water in 2014.

Supermodel Claudia Schiffer also took to Instagram to say Westwood's "unique voice will be irreplaceable and will be missed".

Actor Jamie Lee Curtis admitted she was "terrified" when her then-boyfriend, popstar Adam Ant, bought her some Westwood clothes during the furore around the designer's "Pirates Collection" in the early 1980s.

"It was avant-garde and punk and dangerous and rebellious, not one of those words that you would apply to me and yet I gamely tried to wear them," Curtis wrote on Instagram.

"Boy, do I wish I had those clothes today. A true icon. A talented dame."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan described Westwood as "a creative icon who helped cement the UK at the very forefront of modern fashion".