LONDON – LONDON (AP) — Fashion designer Catherine Walker, whose work was championed by late Princess Diana, has died after suffering from cancer, her family said Sunday. She was 65.
Walker was born in France, but found fame after moving to Britain and is best known for creating some of Diana's most famous outfits. The princess was buried in a black dress created by Walker.
The designer studied philosophy at the universities of Lille and Aix-en Province in her native France, before she moved to London where she married lawyer John Walker.
After her husband died in 1975, Walker was left to raise their two daughters alone, enrolling on a fashion course and eventually building a successful business.
"Catherine Walker overcame young widowhood and fought cancer twice with enduring bravery," her family said in a statement Sunday. "She built one of the most successful British couture brands and at the same time raised a loving family."
The family said their mother had "dressed many of the world's most beautiful women," since she first sold garments in 1976, offering her designs from a basket as she walked up and down the Kings Road shopping district in London's Chelsea neighborhood.
Walker, who had suffered from breast cancer, also designed a wedding dress for Lady Helen Taylor — the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent.
The designer eschewed fashion traditions, never showing her clothes in catwalk shows and usually shunning the limelight, but was named couture designer of the year at the 1990 British Fashion Awards.
In recent years, as her health declined, she trained a design team to continue her eponymous brand Catherine Walker & Co.
"She will be missed by both this team and her family, all of whom are determined to grow the brand and the legacy of this great designer," the statement said.
It said a memorial service is expected to take place next month.