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Fashion journalist Hilary Alexander dies aged 77

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: Graduate Fashion Foundation; Hilary Alexander with Dame Zandra Rhodes for Graduate Fashion Week

Legendary fashion journalist Hilary Alexander, who was the honorary president of Graduate Fashion Foundation, which organises Graduate Fashion Week, died peacefully on February 5, her 77th birthday, in London.

In a statement from the foundation, they said that Alexander, who was a trustee on the charity board, was the “driving strength” behind Graduate Fashion Week and helped to grow the event to its current status as the largest showcase of student fashion since its inception in 1991.

As part of her role at the charity, she secured many of the GFF lifetime patrons, including designers Dame Zandra Rhodes and Diane Von Furstenberg, and travelling the world in support of young international designers.

When asked what inspired her most about graduate talent and the next generation, Alexander said: “It’s always exciting because you have no idea what graduates are going to come up with next. It’s a complete revelation because the way they approach design is so completely different to anything else you’ve seen before in terms of the fabrics, silhouettes, layering and accessorises. The completely new and novel approach is what I find more intriguing and inspiring.”

Graduate Fashion Foundation honorary president Hilary Alexander dies

Image: Graduate Fashion Foundation; Hilary Alexander with Diane Von Furstenberg

Alexander, born in New Zealand, was one of the first fashion reporters on Fleet Street and was the Daily Telegraph’s fashion editor until she left the publication in 2011. She was awarded an OBE for her contributions to fashion journalism in 2013 by the late Queen Elizabeth II and was named the British Fashion Awards’ journalist of the year twice, in 1997 and 2003.

Douglas MacLennan, chairman of the Graduate Fashion Foundation, added: “It was with great sadness that the Graduate Fashion Foundation Trustees and staff learnt of Hilary’s passing. From day one of the first Graduate Fashion Week event held in 1991 Hilary, first as a fashion journalist, then later as a Trustee and finally holding the title honorary lifetime president has been an integral associate to the event.

“Graduating fashion students enthralled her, their innovation and their imagination always brought her back. Right up until the end the graduates were foremost in her mind. While a fashion light has sadly now expired, the memory of Hilary’s enthusiasm will continue within the work of the charity and it’s Trustees.”

Hilary Alexander