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Catherine Walker, Designer Of Princess Diana's Most Famous Dresses, Dies At 65

First Posted: 09/27/2010 8:50 am Updated: 05/25/2011 5:50 pm

Text By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LONDON (AP) -- Catherine Walker, a fashion designer whose work was championed by Princess Diana, died on Thursday. She was 65.

Ms. Walker had been suffering from cancer, her family said.

She was best known for creating some of Princess Diana's most famous outfits. The princess was buried in a black dress created by Ms. Walker.

Ms. Walker eschewed fashion traditions, never showing her clothes in catwalk shows and usually shunning the limelight, but she was named couture designer of the year at the 1990 British Fashion Awards.

Catherine Marguerite Marie-Therese Baheux was born in the Pas-de-Calais region of France on June 27, 1945. She studied philosophy at the universities of Lille and Aix-en Province, before moving to London, where she married John Walker, a lawyer.

After her husband died in an accident in 1975, Ms. Walker was left to raise their two daughters alone, enrolling in a fashion course and eventually building a successful business.

She first sold garments in 1976, offering her designs from a basket as she walked up and down the King's Road shopping district in London's Chelsea neighborhood.

In recent years, as her health declined, she trained a design team to continue her brand, Catherine Walker & Co.

A memoir titled "Catherine Walker" was published in 1998. The subtitle was "An autobiography by the private couturier to Diana, princess of Wales."

She is survived by her second husband, Said Ismael, and her two daughters, Naomi and Marianne, from her first marriage.

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