MY MUSINGS ABOUT ASIATICA’S ELIZABETH WILSON, DEPTH, AND A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE
words Susan Cannon
select photos Tara Shupe
Anais Nin once wrote, “I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”
Never did this quote resonate more than during my twenty years working in the fashion industry in New York where I found myself on photo shoots and sitting at runways shows in Europe. Early on I paid my dues working for old-school diva editors from the Diana Vreeland days, and under some heavy-hitting forces: Vogue’s Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington, and Giorgio Armani’s then-CEO Gabriella Forte, a petite woman who could make grown men cry, not to mention the rest of us.
I had to style numerous actresses and musicians, as fashion in the nineties ushered in a whole new level of celebrity worship. It was stuff that could make a person lose their Midwestern grounding, which I tried not to let happen. I preferred to stay away from what could be considered the shallow side of the industry. So many 'fashionistas' took themselves way too seriously. It was silly. I was more comfortable with the crowd who found a deeper appreciation for the conceptual side of fashion, its process and image-making. This felt more down to earth to me. I became particularly wowed by new perspectives of the avant-guard Japanese designers like Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, and of course, Yohji Yamamoto. They represented poetry, wit, and real depth.