Made in New Zealand

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Hilary Alexander

New Zealand-born British fashion journalist Hilary Alexander peacefully passed away at her London home on the 5th February 2023, at age 77. 

Here Tanya shares some of her memories of Hilary.  

"In 2001 we showed at the inaugural New Zealand Fashion week with my collection titled "The Fall of the Winter Palace". Adding to the nerves was the knowledge that Hilary Alexander would be in the audience.

In a playback of the show we watched her foot start tapping, head nodding, smiling and put pen to paper and scribble the entire length of the show.

After the show Hilary was the first one backstage to congratulate me. Her appreciation and description of my references was so accurate I was immensely flattered and shocked, especially as it was coming from someone who reviewed such pivotal fashion shows. I felt honoured to have caught her eye. 

Later that week, unbeknown to me, Hilary visited my store in Auckland and purchased a French tulle, hand dyed, beaded top for herself. (pictured below)

10 years later the Dunedin ID emerging designers committee invited Hilary to join us on the judging panel.

ID is an international design competition with emerging designers from all over the world displaying their graduate collections.

I was thrilled to be able to spend time with Hilary. She was kind, generous and incredibly knowledgeable which was slightly intimidating but incredibly inspiring.

Her knowledge was so ingrained in her which made her advice and expertise so genuine when she shared it with the students.

I've realised in her passing how lucky I was to have experienced her generosity of spirit.

Fashion reflects social changes and we have lost one of the great observers."

ID Emerging Designers Judges -Tanya Carlson, Nicholas Huxley and Hilary Alexander at ID

Hilary, Tanya and Nick pictured with Lutz Huelle and ID committee members

Hilary Alexander, fashion editor, Daily Telegraph

"Tanya Carlson. Her range was contemporary and sensitive, not heavy handed. There was a hint of Russia and Estonia in there but it wasn't too literal. It was folk-loric in a streetwise way."