Anne Roose obituary | Fashion

My mother, Anne Roose, who died aged 90, was a fashion designer who helped reinvent Welsh wool with her elegant contemporary designs inspired by Celtic tradition.

She was instrumental in saving the rare breed of Jacob sheep, working with Araminta, Lady Aldington and the Holywell Textile Mill in North Wales to turn the distinctive but rough fleece into beautiful fabric in natural tones , which resulted in her famous Anna Roose Jacob collection (she used Anna as her professional first name).

Anne was born in Blackheath, south London, to Muriel (née Richards) and Ralph Paton, who worked for the Mazawattee Tea Company. Her younger sister was Jane Paton, the prolific children’s book illustrator of the 1960s and 1970s. Shrewsbury area.

While at school, Anne and her sister learned that their father had gone missing, they were thought to be dead, and their mother eventually remarried. However, in the mid-1950s, when Anne was the subject of a newspaper article about her work, she received a phone call. She knew right away that it was her father. Once reunited, they had a warm relationship. But it was never explained to Anne what had happened.

Anne Roose, far left, showing a cape from the Anna Roose Jacob collection to a group including Araminta, Lady Aldington in the early 1970s

Anne attended Shrewsbury High School, then transferred to Croydon High School once the war was over. She showed a great aptitude for art and, in 1946, after obtaining her school certificate, she was sent to France to continue her studies, staying with families in Paris via a student exchange. The first family were active Communists, which came as less of a shock to Anne than to her own family – then based in Purley, Surrey – when it was their turn to reciprocate.

Sketch by Anne Roose of a design from a 1950s Parisian haute couture catwalk
Sketch by Anne Roose of a design from a 1950s Parisian haute couture catwalk

As a student in Paris, Anne got her first taste of the haute couture world and even met Coco Chanel. Back in England, she enrolled at St Martin’s School of Art. After graduating, she got a job as a designer for a London fashion company, which sent her to haute couture shows in Paris. Every evening, she returned to her room to sketch the drawings from memory to post in London.

In 1954 Anne married Richard Roose, who worked in human resources. She soon combined running an increasingly successful business with raising three children in a sprawling arts and crafts house in Oxted, Surrey. The door was never locked, with family and friends of the children – and, later, grandchildren – always welcome at Sunday lunches around a large Welsh farmhouse dining table. Later Anne and Richard moved to Rye in East Sussex to be close to me.

Even in retirement, Anne remains busy making clothes – often in wool – for her grandchildren, to whom she is deeply devoted. Jacob’s sheep are now a familiar sight in the British countryside.

Richard passed away in 2009. Anne is survived by her children, Anthony, Simon and I, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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