A Courageous Fashion Editor

 
 

Elizabeth Tilberis, (b 7 September 1947 – d 21 April 1999) born Elizabeth Jane Kelly, known professionally throughout her career as Liz Tilberis, was a British fashion magazine editor.

Tilberis went to Malvern Girls College. She then went to Leicester Polytechnic where as a fashion student, she was expelled for having a man in her room. She then tried to go to Jacob Kramer Art College in Leeds. Andrew Tilberis, was an art tutor, and looked over her portfolio for admission. He was unimpressed with her work, but Liz gave him a speech why she wanted to attend and won him over (and later married him).

In 1967, British Vogue held a contest requiring three essays. Liz was the runner-up and began an internship there, making tea, picking up dress pins, and ironing for fashion shoots for 25 pounds per week. Later stating about her internship: “I succeeded by knowing the right answers, but also when to keep my mouth shut, when to smile and to do really good ironing”

Beatrix Miller, then editor-in-chief, noticed how nice and enthusiastic Liz was, and was promoted to fashion assistant in 1970. In 1971 she married Andrew Tilberis, whom her father forbade her to marry because “he was a foreigner.” They remained married for almost 30 years before her untimely death.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, Liz began fertility treatments to try to conceive. They were not successful and she adopted sons Robert in 1981 and Christopher in 1985.

After 20 years at British Vogue, Liz was offered a lucrative job in New York City as part of Ralph Lauren‘s design team in 1987. She sold her house, packed up, and was about to leave for the United States. Anna Wintour, the then-editor, suddenly called Liz into her office, and informed her that she was moving to New York to become American House & Garden‘s new editor. She offered her job to Liz, which she accepted. Its circulation began to rise under her leadership and she said, “My staff are respectful rather than frightened.”

In 1992, Tilberis took over the helm of fashion institution Harper’s Bazaar. In December 1993, Tilberis was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 46, a disease she publicly blamed on her use of fertility drugs. She spent the next seven years at Bazaar balancing chemotherapy and revitalizing the 125-year-old magazine. Under her leadership, the stale magazine became a leading American fashion magazine again with top supermodels and fashion photographers such as Patrick Demarchelier.

 
 

.

Princess of Wales Diana, right, walks through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to attend the Costume Institute Gala with Liz Tilberis, chair of the event, Monday Dec. 9, 1996

 
 

Tilberis also served as President of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund from 1997 until her death in 1999. She escorted Diana, Princess of Wales on one of her last visits to New York, even though Tilberis herself was undergoing chemotherapy treatments for her cancer. Diana would telephone and write Tilberis to give her words of comfort and encouragement, until her own untimely death in a car accident on 31 August 1997.

Tilberis died on 21 April 1999 in New York City from Ovarian cancer. Tributes to her were in the June 1999 issue and the entire July 1999 issue of Bazaar.

Advertisements

The Elegant Portraiture of Timothy Greenfield Sanders

“For many photographers, fashion is the ultimate. But I’m not a fashion photographer. I’m a portrait artist who shoots fashion”

Timothy Greenfield Sanders

 
 

Yves Saint Laurent

 
 

Pauline Trigère

 
 

Sonia Rykiel

 
 

Rei Kawakubo

 
 

Todd Oldham

 
 

Jean Muir

 
 

Elsa Peretti

 
 

Paloma Picasso

 
 

Carolina Herrera

 
 

Carmen Dell’Orefice

 
 

Oscar De la Renta

 
 

Jil Sander

 
 

Vera Wang

 
 

Donna Karan

 
 

Naomi Campbell

 
 

Christy Turlington

 
 

Andre Leon Talley

 
 

Liz Tilberis

 
 

Anna Wintour

 
 

Simon Doonan

 
 

Iké Udé

 
 

Hamish Bowles

 
 

Betsey Johnson

 
 

Miguel Adrover

 
 

Patrick Robinson

 
 

Zac Posen

 
 

Michael Kors

 
 

Narciso Rodríguez

 
 

Calvin Klein

 
 

Tommy Hilfiger

 
 

Isaac Mizrahi

The Reverent Tastemaker

Stefano Pilati. Photograph by David Bailey. Published in Vogue, September 2004

 
 

Stefano Pilati’s 2004 debut at Yves Saint Laurent (Brand)—hot on the heels of Tom Ford’s sensational departure from the exalted French house—was one of the most anticipated in fashion history. The debonair Italian, then a relative unknown, was the third in a string of designers-cum-dauphins charged with the seemingly impossible task of maintaining a covenant with Saint Laurent’s epic legacy while creating new codes that would give the label contemporary relevance.

“There is nothing that Saint Laurent didn’t think of first,” Pilati said, upping the ante even further.

So how did the Prada– and Ford-trained designer tackle the challenge? With stubborn individuality. In seasons of hypersexed fashion, he showed polka dots and body-enhancing, ruffled dresses that, he said, “came from a memory of Saint Laurent in the late seventies.” Many critics balked, but time proved that Pilati was simply ahead of the curve. Notable case in point: the much-copied tulip skirt, which exerted a major influence on subsequent seasons’ silhouettes. “I think what maybe people objected to was that it was quite extreme,” said Anna Wintour of Vogue. “But you need the extremes to move people’s eye.” That first collection, she said, “didn’t look like anyone else’s.”

Pilati continued to stand apart, a latter-day Don Quixote pursuing a vision of grown-up, very French elegance. The fall 2007 and 2008 collections, particularly, were considered breakthroughs for their clarity of conception and purity of form. Critics occasionally remarked, however, that his work was too reverential to the past, that it relied too heavily on Yves-isms. “To me,” he countered in 2005, “it’s simply newer to be classic than transgressive.”

Shortly before the fall collections were mounted in 2012—and after months of rumors—the Saint Laurent company announced that Pilati was stepping down. Although his tenure was broadly respected and considered a success, he had failed to reach the starry brilliance of his predecessors.

Within a few months, however, the press was abuzz again (if perhaps at a slightly lower decibel level) with the news that he would pilot the Italian menswear label Ermenegildo Zegna and its sister brand, Agnona. Those truly in the know were probably not terribly surprised that Pilati would make this Lazarus-like return: A onetime heroin addict—who got his start as a teenage usher at fashion shows in Milan—the tattooed designer is clearly a man of considerable grit. “Work is my salvation,” he once said.

 
 

Source: Voguepedia

V.I.P.’s (Very Important Portraits) by Roxanne Lowit

Roxanne Lowit is one of the pioneers of behind-the-scenes fashion photography as we know it today. “For the first 10 to 15 years I was the only one shooting backstage at all the shows. I had no credentials to begin with but quickly realised that that was my métier, that’s what I found most fascinating.”

The revelation came when she was gifted an Instamatic camera while still attending the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York studying Textile Design. At the time Lowit was a keen painter, but with this new tool discovered a more efficient way of capturing the spirit of her subjects. “I wanted to paint the people I admired but nobody had the time, so I thought I’d take a photograph of them and work from the photograph,” she says. “However, once I took the photograph I realised that I didn’t need to capture the whole soul in a painting. So I traded in my paintbrushes for a camera.”

Her background in textile design became her backstage pass when she was invited by the designers who worked from her patterns to photograph the completed garments before their shows. Eventually word got out that Lowit’s images were something worth publishing, and in 1978 she was contacted by Annie Flanders from the SoHo News. “She heard that I was going to Paris so she said ‘if you get a real camera I’ll use your pictures when you get back’. I learnt how to put film in a real camera on the plane on the way over. Next thing I was on the top of the Eiffel Tower shooting with Yves Saint Laurent and Andy Warhol. It was all downhill from there because how could it get any better?”

But things did get better, much better. After that first trip to Paris doors flung open for Lowit and her career as a backstage fashion photographer gained swift momentum. As industry insiders came to know and love her, the invitations to the parties flooded in, which was where much of the magic happened in front of Lowit’s lens. The 80s were heady times for fashion and she was always there, stationed in the fray, ready to catch the fanfare, frivolities and outright excess as it happened. “It was phenomenal,” she recalls. “We had the Supermodels and all those designers who loved the Supermodels. There were great parties – Elton John was always there and all sorts of celebrities started coming to the shows and parties.”

These days Lowit finds the more homogenised collections produced by contemporary designers as a result of an increasingly commercialised fashion industry much less inspiring, but revels in rising to the challenge all the same. “I usually play a game with myself, how good can I make this look?” she laughs. “But really it’s just about taking a great picture and finding a great moment. It’s always exciting to think, where am I going to go and what am I going to shoot next?”For the fashion designers themselves, as Lowit recalls, it was a time of tremendous creative freedom, where their unique artistic vision was nurtured by the industry and experimentation was encouraged. The shows, it seems, were less about selling clothes and more about the artistry, theatre and spectacle of it all. “It was so much more creative back then. You didn’t need a name at the end of the runway to know who it was you were watching,” she tells me. “When you saw long red nails with vampish clothes and great big hair you knew it was Thierry Mugler. When you saw flower dresses and a girl on a horse you knew you were at Kenzo. Stripes and knits, you were at Sonia Rykiel.”

Lowit gets a kick out of shooting just about anyone who gets a kick out of being shot. “All the pictures I’ve taken are important to me. They’re all like my children. It’s always the next image I look forward to. But looking back I think my favourites are the ones where the people just enjoyed having their picture taken – they were just having a good time. That’s really when I can capture something great.”

 
 

Roxanne Lowit, Andy Warhol, Jacqueline and Julian Schnabel, Kenny Scharf, Jean Michel Basquiat

 
 

Andy Warhol

 
 

Yves Saint Laurent

 
 

Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld

 
 

Helena Christensen, Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour

 
 

Diana Vreeland

 
 

Ralph Lauren and Diana Vreeland

 
 

Salvador Dalí, Janet Daly and the recipient of a kiss

 
 

Helmut Newton

 
 

Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Helmut Newton

 
 

Peter Lindbergh, Arthur Elgort and Patrick Demarchelier

 
 

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino

 
 

Patrick Kelly, Iman, Grace Jones and Naomi Campbell

 
 

Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista

 
 

>Manolo Blahnik and Anna Piaggi

 
 

Lauren Hutton and a chauffeur

 
 

Elton John in concert wearing the Donald Duck costume, Central Park, New York

 
 

Shalom Harlow

 
 

Amanda Lepore

 
 

Halston

 
 

John Galliano

 
 

Annabelle Neilson Rothschild and John Galliano

 
 

Backstage from Dior Show, Paris

 
 

Kate Moss and John Galliano

 
 

Kate Moss

 
 

Ellen Von Unwerth and Mario Testino

 
 

Herb Ritts, Christy Turlington and Steven Meisel