The Insider: Hilary Alexander

When i left university i was lucky enough to head straight to the Daily Telegraph and work for Hilary Alexander. Having been a Telegraph reader my whole life, i had recognised her whilst she was shopping for a Reader Makeover in Gap on Oxford Street and after a red-faced conversation where i thought i might pass out with nerves any second, i somehow managed to secure an internship starting a couple of months later. So June came and to the Victoria offices I went, and began what was to become three years at the Telegraph where i am still working now. 

Twice Fashion Journalist of the Year and winner of the Eugenia Shepphard award at the CFDAs(amongst her million achievements), working for someone as respected and talented as Hilary was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. She gave me a look at the real industry.

So who better to kick off The Insider than Hilary, who's been everywhere and done it all. Here's just a little taster of how she got where she is today - a.k.a The Top:


First job: A weekend job when I was 15 making milkshakes in a 'milkbar' - what we'd call a cafe - in Upper Hutt, New Zealand (where I also learnt how to peel hard-boiled eggs in seconds: tap shell all over on hard surface, roll between your hands, and shell comes off easily). My first journalism job was as a  cadet reporter on the Manawatu Evening Standard, in Palmerston North

Your first fashion inspiration:
The Assyrians, Mayans and Babylonians

The moment you knew fashion was your future:
When I started as fashion editor on the China Mail in Hong Kong

Any moments of doubt:
Only when in excruciating back-pain, with a limp, and walking with a cane for about 2 years which made me wonder how I would get through the collections - then, thankfully I had spinal surgery and a hip replacement and my legs are now the same length!!!

Career highlight (so far):
So many!!! All the shows!!! Meeting and working with so many fantastic happy people. Plus dancing with Karl Lagerfeld who was wearing Hunter wellies and a CDG dark suit; sharing ciggies backstage with Marc Jacobs, and Matthew Williamson; being able to travel on fashion location trips to more than 30 countries including Bhutan, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Peru, Borneo, Russia and Easter Island

Fashion world fodder (a favourite anecdote from your years in the trade):
The amazing lunch Anna Wintour hosted in Paris for my retirement and the extraordinary party the British Fashion Council organised and hosted, also for my retirement from the Telegraph

Survival tips:
Sense of humour, white wine, comfortable shoes, the occasional Marlboro Light

I have been totally blessed and very lucky. And I'm still having fun as a trustee of Graduate Fashion Week, and styling Fashion for the Brave for the Household Cavalry in September, and the Breast Cancer Care charity fashion shows in October which neatly bookend London Fashion Week - now that is going to be a few weeks of high tension!!!


Hils, the team and I (laughing my head off for some reason) at her leaving party last year.

If you need a look at all the awesome things Hils has done there's a full profile of her career here

1 comment:

  1. This is so inspiring thank you for sharing! Also, I love the image I now have of Karl Lagerfeld wearing Hunters, uh-mazing.