Let­ter from the ed­i­tor

Fashion (Canada) - - Contents -

Iwas more daunted by FASHION turn­ing 40 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 firstever 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” on page 85, 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. We will be auc­tion­ing the tulle sculp­ture, and the pro­ceeds will be used to launch a schol­ar­ship with The Suzanne Rogers Fashion In­sti­tute at Toronto’s 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 for­ward­look­ing sense of op­ti­mism and cu­rios­ity.



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