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May 19

Louise Wilson OBE

By Ella Miista
This weekend Louise Wilson OBE passed away. Outside the world of fashion her name might not ring many bells but behind the scenes or not, she was a legend. As the director of MA Fashion at Central St Martins, Wilson taught the likes of Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney. Claiming pride for the work of any of her former students just wasn’t her style. But, her influence in many of them becoming the leading designers of our time is undeniable. Wilson was always adamant her role as a teacher was to teach them. What they did with their knowledge afterwards was entirely up to them. Rather than marvelling in the success of those she’d seen graduate, she always showed such enthusiasm for the ones still studying. “As much as I might decry the students, as much as they’re a nightmare, it is a privilege to be among youth,” she told the Independent in 2011. It was a sentiment that shone through many of her interviews. She loved her students. “Imagine you’re a student. Stay there,” she said in the same interview. We all know there is something special about being a student. Wilson saw it, and she did her very best to make sure her students would strive on it. Formidable is a word that almost repeats itself when people discuss Wilson. Making a grown man leave her crit crying was not unusual, but she was never just a mean, loud voice. Her comments may have induced tears and sent shivers down the spines of her students. They may have been intense and excruciating, but they were never unfair. She was uncompromising and expected only the best. She had no problem in demanding more from those not putting in their maximum. She was excellent in pushing her students to their creative limits. No one wants to be the receiving end of tough love but that's the price to study under such brilliant minds. There’s a reason Central St Martins has the most esteemed fashion course in the country, if not the world. There’s a reason why 90% of her students go straight into employment. There's a reason companies like Lanvin and McQueen called Wilson to find out which of her students they should hire. Her brutal honesty is a huge part in creating that but it’s her borderline offensive sense of humour, endless bits of wisdom and the commitment she felt for her students that made her into the legend she was. The sculptor of some of the greatest designers of our time, she will be missed by her students and others alike. Featured image via 1 Granary. [caption id="attachment_24695" align="aligncenter" width="682"]At the 2012 British Fashion Awards. She won the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator. via blog.arts.ac.uk At the 2012 British Fashion Awards. She won the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator. via blog.arts.ac.uk[/caption] [caption id="attachment_24697" align="aligncenter" width="714"]Picture via SHOWstudio Picture via SHOWstudio[/caption] [caption id="attachment_24698" align="aligncenter" width="760"]Lady Gaga as shot by Mario Testino for Vogue. She's wearing Alexander McQueen, one of the many students taught by Wilson. Lady Gaga as shot by Mario Testino for Vogue. She's wearing Alexander McQueen, one of the many students taught by Wilson.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_24699" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Christopher Kane, another student of hers, went on to become a total fashion superstar straight after graduating. Resort 2011 collection. Christopher Kane, another student of hers, went on to become a total fashion superstar straight after graduating. Resort 2011 collection. [/caption]
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