Louise Wilson, one of fashion's most inimitable characters, and arguably one of its most influential figures, sadly died in May 2014, aged 52. “Louise Wilson played a remarkable role in making the British scene fashion as successful and relevant as it is today,” said Alexandra Shulman, British Vogue’s editor-in-chief. “Her teaching and influence made a mark on so many of our leading designers. I will miss her outspoken views and her clever and often very funny observations.”
Louise Wilson was the course director of Central Saint Martin’s fashion MA. Widely regarded as the most prestigious fashion course in the world, its past graduates include Phoebe Philo, Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane and Jonathan Saunders.
Wilson was famously forthright and blunt in her critique of her students, making no apologies for her punishing standards and rigorous appraisal. However, she did accede to The Telegraph in reference to her students, 'We've been through something together and we all recognise what we went through and it does create a bond, it doesn't mean we all have to love each other but there's a camaraderie.”
Wilson grew up in Scotland and attended art college before completing the Central Saint Martins course she now directs. Wilson moved to Hong Kong following her graduation, finding work as both a consultant and a designer. She returned to the United Kingdom to teach at Central Saint Martins, beginning her over 20-year professional association with the college.
Between 1997 and 1999 Wilson worked as design director at Donna Karan, who said of Wilson, "It was like going back to school myself. Louise trains and develops the best."
The professor was pragmatic and impassioned about the need for her students to want to design as a career not a calling. “Kim Jones, menswear director at Louis Vuitton, Christopher Lundman at Acne, Frances Howie at Stella McCartney. The head of Levi's is from us; we have people go to Adidas. I hate the idea that people come thinking they're going to be the next Alexander McQueen. Alexander McQueen didn't know he was going to be Alexander McQueen.”