Happy 40th Birthday to FASHION! Here’s How We’re Celebrating This Milestone
Our contributors celebrate FASHION's 40th with a look at the magazine's past, present and future.
I was more daunted by FASHION’s 40th birthday than I was when I marked that milestone. How do you possibly honour all the talented people who worked at this magazine for the past four decades? The other daunting task was deciding who would be on the cover. For the magazine’s 35th anniversary, former EIC Bernadette Morra brilliantly landed the iconic supermodel Linda Evangelista. I tried for Shalom Harlow—who had her first-ever FASHION cover in November 1990—but it was a no-go.
On January 26, I saw an Instagram post from John Galliano’s Spring 2017 haute couture collection with Maison Margiela, and I was inspired/obsessed. Galliano had designed a white trench coat that was intriguingly embellished with a three-dimensional tulle sculpture of a woman’s face. “Why isn’t this in my closet this morning??!!” I wrote in my regram.
I wondered who was behind this fabric artistry and—more importantly—could this person be enticed to create a tulle cover for FASHION’s 40th? A quick Google search revealed it was U.K. artist Benjamin Shine. My next task was to send beseeching emails to Shine’s agent, Katherine Maginnis. She kindly arranged a phone chat, and, somewhat miraculously, Shine agreed to take on the commission.
Even more miraculously, he ended up being in NYC the day of our cover shoot with model Amber Witcomb. Shine worked with photographer Owen Bruce to capture the image that he used for inspiration. In “She Walks in Beauty,” an editorial shoot for our upcoming November issue (sneak peek below), Bruce captures beautifully nostalgic yet modern images of the season’s strongest looks. The title, which is a line from Lord Byron’s famous poem, became the theme for the shoot as well as the fashion film shot by Erik Swain.
The idea to use this poem as inspiration came from my 93-year-old father, Francis. On set, Swain suggested that Witcomb read a poem, but none came to mind. I emailed my dad—a kind-hearted fellow with a relentlessly poetic view of the world—for a suggestion. His reply: “There are many poems that capture a woman’s beauty and grace, but this one from Lord Byron is among the best that I have read or studied.
Six weeks after our July 20 shoot, my husband, David, and I picked up the portrait in NYC and transported it back to Toronto by train. The specially commissioned piece will be for sale via auction on Oct 3. Proceeds will go toward the creation of a fund to support emerging fashion design talent at Ryerson University.
Upon seeing the portrait, one colleague said it reminds him of Evangelista, while another suggested it looks like Harlow. That’s part of Witcomb’s allure. Her career is blossoming, but she told me that she will always remember this experience, as will I. From the tulle cover to the retro and future-inspired stories, our goal was to mark the occasion with a touch of nostalgia and a forward-looking sense of optimism and curiosity.
Click through the slideshow below to see how FASHION’s other contributors and editors chose to celebrate this milestone moment.