Legendary Kiwi fashion journalist Hilary Alexander dies on her birthday, aged 77

Hilary Alexander in 2012.

Eamonn McCormack/Getty Images

Hilary Alexander in 2012.

Legendary New Zealand-born fashion journalist Hilary Alexander has died, having passed away peacefully in London on February 5, her 77th birthday.

Born in 1946, Alexander began her career as a 16-year-old trainee reporter in Palmerston North, working at the Manawatu Standard. She later worked at The Evening Post and The Dominion in Wellington, and the Ballarat Courier in Australia.

Later, she moved to Hong Kong where she worked at the China Mail and Hong Kong Standard, before establishing herself in London and spending 26 years at the Daily Telegraph.

Highly-respected for her sharp reporting on the global fashion industry and energetic energy, she was a front-row fixture for years and throughout her career became close friends with top designers including Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Gianni Versace and Alexander McQueen.

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In 2013, she was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours for services to journalism, and regularly appeared on UK television on Lorraine, GMTV and BBC Breakfast and as a stylist on Britain’s Next Top Model in 2005 and 2006.

She was, according to a British Vogue tribute, said to have coined the expression ‘supermodel’. She was also the reporter who ‘cracked the mystery’ of Kate Middleton’s wedding dress designer before it was revealed, recognising the belt of Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton in a photo of her leaving the royal’s hotel.

“In a fashion world dominated at the time by an elite British circle, Hilary never forgot her Kiwi

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