Bobby Hillson

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Bobby Hillson is a London-based fashion illustrator, former designer of children's clothing, and founder of the Saint Martin's School of Art MA Fashion course.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Hillson, who had studied at Saint Martin's School of Art,[3] started out as an illustrator for Vogue UK, The Sunday Times, and The Observer in the early 1950s.[1] In 1954 she attended Coco Chanel's relaunch show.[1] She is particularly renowned for her 1960s illustration work.[4] In 1969, she launched her childrenswear brand, and in 1972, a little girl's dress and pinafore was chosen as the Dress of the Year by Moira Keenan alongside a Biba outfit and a young boy's outfit by Burton.[5] As of 2018, no other children's clothes have been selected as Dress of the Year.

Teaching career[edit]

Hillson returned to Saint Martin's School of Art to teach on the fashion diploma course in 1956.[6] In the late 1970s she developed and wrote the MA fashion course, with the first cohort of graduates showing in 1980.[6]

While at Saint Martin's, Hillson was one of the first people to recognise the potential of Alexander McQueen, offering him a place on the course when he approached her about a cutter's job.[1][2] When McQueen received an honorary doctorate from Saint Martins, he thanked Hillson first of all.[7] In addition to McQueen, Hillson's former students include John Galliano, Stephen Jones, Rifat Özbek and Sonja Nuttall.[7] She was succeeded as course director of the MA Fashion course by another former student, Louise Wilson in 1992.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Cooper, Michelle. "Who's Who: Bobby Hillson". Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Frankel, Susannah (24 September 2011). "Louise Wilson: 'As much as I might decry the students, as much as they're a nightmare, it is a privilege to be among youth'". The Independent. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  3. ^ Hillson, Bobby. "Bobby Hillson". Very Magazine. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  4. ^ Fogg, Marnie (2008). 1960s fashion print : a sourcebook. London: Batsford. p. 102. ISBN 9780713490541.
  5. ^ "Dress of the Year 1970-1979". Fashion Museum, Bath. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Remembering St. Martin's with the Founder of MA Fashion Bobby Hillson – Central Saint Martins: News". Retrieved 2018-09-02.
  7. ^ a b Sherwood, James (February 19, 2007). "I taught them a lesson ; As fashion's most formidable mistress, she mentored McQueen, oversaw Ozbek and goaded the great Galliano". The Independent. Archived from the original on February 16, 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013.