Fashion designer Anne Eustis Pepper, known as Wendy Pepper to the many who watched her compete on “Project Runway,” has died. She was 53.
Pepper died on Sunday surrounded by family, according to an obituary published in The Washington Post. No cause of death was given.
She is survived by her daughter, Finley, whom she often mentioned on the reality show, her parents, three brothers and a sister, as well as several nieces and nephews.
“Wendy designed and hand-sewed exceptionally beautiful clothes for children and adults,” the obituary reads. “She was a chef, a writer, and a life-long entrepreneur. Her wit and humor were unmatched, as was her generosity of spirit.”
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Fashion designers Mychael Knight and Wendy Pepper
Fashion designers Mychael Knight and Wendy Pepper
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 12: Fashion Designer Mychael Knight attends the CFDA (FASHION INCUBATOR) cocktail party at W Atlanta - Buckhead with designers Daniel Vosovic, WHIT, Burkman Brothers and Emanuela Duca at Whiskey Blue bar at W Atlanta - Buckhead on December 12, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Allied Integrated Marketing)
Marvin McIntire and Designer Mychael Knight at The Kitty & Dick Suite hosted by 'Project Runways' Mychael Knight at Opera in Atlanta Georgia on January 9, 2007. (Photo by Rick Diamond/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: Fashion designer Mychael Knight attends the Courtney Allegra VIP Store Opening and Fashion Show on August 25, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Art Hearts Fashion)
(L-R) Fashion designer Mychael Knight and model Regal attend Bryan Michael Cox & Tyrone Davis' birthday celebration hosted by Ocean's Seven & SESAC at the W Hotel Midtown on December 8, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 06: Mychael Knight attends the 'Ride Along' screening at Regal Atlantic Station on January 6, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Prince Williams/FilmMagic)
Anthony David and Mychael Knight attend the GRAMMY Nominee Reception at W Hotel Downtown on January 29, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Ben Rose/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Designer Mychael Knight backstage at the Mychael Knight Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Red Bull Space on September 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Model Jessica White and designer Mychael Knight attend the Mychael Knight Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Red Bull Space on September 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/FilmMagic)
CHAMBLEE, GA - SEPTEMBER 19: (L-R) Fashion designer Mychael Knight and Sheree Whitfield attend the Hennessy Artistry Series 2009 with Common & The Roots at The Velvet Room on September 19, 2009 in Chamblee, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/WireImage for Shore Fire Media)
ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 03: Designer Mychael Knight attends the 2009 Soul Train Awards at the Georgia World Congress Center on November 3, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Jessica White, Mychael Knight, Dani Evans and Nik Pace attend the Mychael Knight Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Red Bull Space on September 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/WireImage)
Project Runway's Mychael Knight attends a private reception for T.I.'s new cd 'T.I. vs. T.I.P.' July 7, 2007 in Atlanta Georgia sponsored by Louis Vuitton (Photo by Rick Diamond/WireImage)
Spoken Word Artist, Subject to Change, Krista Freibaum, Noise Marketing and Former Project Runway designer, Mychael Knight, Arrives at The Bombay Sapphire 'Inspired in Atlanta' party, Held at The Americas Mart in Atlanta Georgia on September 16,2007 (Phot
Wendy Pepper, designer and finalist in the 'Project Runway' reality show on Bravo (Photo by Gregory Pace/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: Wendy Pepper attends HUMANE SOCIETY Host the After Party for JAY MCCARROLL'S Spring 2007 Fashion Show at 60 Thompson on September 15, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Christian Grattan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - DECEMBER 7: Carol Alt and Wendy Pepper attend ELLE Magazine Hosts Viewing Party for 2nd Season Premiere of Bravo's Emmy-Nominated 'Project Runway' and Launch of 'Project Runway Magazine' at AER on December 7, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Neil Rasmus/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
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Andy Cohen, who was head of development of Bravo when the series aired on the network, expressed his condolences on social media.
″#RIP one of the first of many great characters to appear on #ProjectRunway. She was a big reason for the first season’s success.”
The designer appeared on Season 1 of the long-running fashion series, becoming the de facto villain and one of its most legendary contestants. She went on to place third in the competition.
Pepper returned to the show years later on the second season of “Project Runway: All Stars” but didn’t fare as well and was eliminated in the second challenge.
Pepper was born in Dayton, Ohio, and raised in Washington, D.C. She attended the University of Washington. Her interest in design was sparked by a trip to Nepal, where she became inspired by local customs and textiles.
After competing on “Project Runway,” she opened her own store and created the Pretty World fashion line.