Annette Worsley-Taylor, one of the founders of the British Fashion Council and London Fashion Week, has died aged 71.
After running a London boutique called Tsaritsa, which stocked the designs of an unknown Bruce Oldfield in 1973, Worsley-Taylor founded the London Designer Collections in 1975 to bring together the burgeoning and varied talent in the UK capital.
Working with fashion PR Lynne Franks, she created the first London designer exhibitions and runway schedules, on which the big names included David Sassoon of Bellville Sassoon, Jasper Conran, Wendy Dagworthy, Roger Saul of Mulberry, Catherine Walker and Elizabeth and David Emanuel, who created Diana’s wedding dress in 1981.
In 1992, at the request of the Department of Trade and Industry (which later became the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), the formidably focused Worsley-Taylor presented a report on the designer fashion industry, which included proposals for export promotion, business development, plus technical and manufacturing support.
In 1993, she settled on the Natural History Museum as the new site for London Fashion Week and became creative and brand director of the initiative. She remained a consultant on London Fashion Week for the British Fashion Council until 2006. In 2002 she received an MBE for her services to British fashion.
She used her knowledge and memories to act as a consultant on the 2009 book Style City: How London Became a Fashion Capital, by Robert O’Byrne.
She was married to literary agent Anthony Shiel.
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC, said: “Annette played a significant role in making British fashion a globally recognised industry. She was the go-to person for designers for many years and the interface between designers and the British Fashion Council.
“She was a great personal mentor and will be missed immensely. Her impact and influence on the British fashion industry was immeasurable and she made many significant strides forward in raising the profile of British fashion to the government as well as international media and retailers.”