SB16 SSL Hilary
If you Google Hilary Alexander OBE, and search for images of her, you’ll find she has a marvellous collection of hats. Of the fluffy rather than floppy variety. One of her all time favourites is one from Kazakhstan. Worn by the Kazakh Eagle Hunters. For Kazakhs, hunting rabbits, foxes, wolves & marmots with eagles is one of the highest expressions of their cultural heritage. The fur is used to make the infamous Kazakh hats, whilst the meat is fed to the eagles. Another of Hilary’s faves is a Jonny Beardsall chapeau. His fantastical hats are made from reclaimed furs, sourced from finest-quality vintage coats, collars & throws that may have been hanging unwanted in wardrobes for years. Her hats speak volumes.

The First Lady of Fashion
If Zandra Rhodes is the Doyenne of British fashion then Hilary Alexander is the Doyenne of British fashionistas. Born in New Zealand she’s made London her home for over 30 years. And journalism her career. She was the Fashion Director of The Telegraph until she hit ‘retirement age’. And announced her semi-retirement on Twitter on 17th February 2011 to her national-&-international #tweetmates-&-followers (and what a following!). Seems that the ‘Hilary Effect’ is contagious and over her amazing career she’s clearly gained utter respect from the people she’s worked closely with. And has been recognised by the industry she loves that loves her. Twice named British Fashion Journalist of the Year at the British Fashion Awards, she was awarded the title Visiting Professor by the University of the Arts and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Design by Nottingham Trent University. In 2011 she was awarded the special Eugenia Sheppard Media Award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Hilary Alexander : The Eighth Wonder of the World
Throughout her tireless career Hilary Alexander has reported from international fashion shows. She’s styled fashion shoots all over the world. She’s reviewed hundreds of catwalk shows every season and interviewed fashion’s biggest stars. She’s helped shape the headlines. And as a parting au revoir she made the headlines as the ‘eighth wonder of the world‘ in a spoof front page created for her by her pals at The Telegraph. It’s clear she and her collection of hats will be missed. But as this tribute video shows – the door to the catwalk will always remain ajar. The BFC chairman Harold Tillman reflected the thoughts of the many when he said:

She deserves the highest honour you could possibly give somebody in her profession — she is brilliant.