Wilson was the director of the Fashion MA course at London’s Central Saint Martins, widely regarded as the most prestigious fashion course in the world. She was famously forthright and blunt in her critique of her students, making no apologies for her punishing standards and rigorous appraisals. Yet she developed a special bond with those whose paths she guided. “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,” she told The Telegraph in 2012.
"Louise has been an inspirational person both within the college and the wider world of fashion. Since becoming course director for MA Fashion in 1992 she has taught a huge proportion of the world's leading fashion designers and her course continues to produce talented ground-breaking graduates," said Jeremy Till, head of Central Saint Martins, in a statement.
"Her commitment to her students and passion for creative excellence are legendary. Her deep understanding of fashion and her drive for funding for bursaries, facilities and opportunities are part of what made her such an extraordinary educator," he continued. "Louise's legacy will live on at CSM through her former students and current teaching colleagues who were so close to her. Central Saint Martins is grateful to have been able to enjoy the fruits of Louise's great talent for educating for the last twenty years and will support her staff and students as they go forward from here."
"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."
Wilson grew up in Scotland and attended art college before completing the Central Saint Martins course she now directs. She moved to Hong Kong following her graduation, finding work as both a consultant and a designer before returning to the UK to teach at Central Saint Martins, beginning her 20-plus-year professional association with the college.
Between 1997 and 1999, Wilson worked as design director at Donna Karan, who famously said of Wilson, "It was like going back to school myself. Louise trains and develops the best."
The BoF team offers its condolences to Wilson’s family, friends and former students.