Jeanne Beker interviews Cindy Crawford in 1997 (courtesy of The National Post)
When Jeanne Beker tweeted yesterday that Fashion Television ceased production after 27 years, I was crushed. Today, many Canadian publications paid tribute to the iconic show, including the beautifully written “Why Fashion Television never went out of style” by The National Post‘s Nathalie Atkinson. I don’t know what I can add that Atkinson hasn’t already touched on, but I thought I’d add a few personal sentiments.
Along with Fashion File and MTV’s House of Style (which was child’s play in comparison), Fashion Television was my first introduction to the world of fashion. Not fashion as in clothes, but fashion as an idea. I think I’m not alone when I say this; it’s a sentiment shared by many. Watching the world through Jeanne Beker’s eyes was exhilarating, whether she was chasing Karl Lagerfeld backstage at Chanel or educating us on fashion history.
Jeanne Beker with Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs in 1990 (courtesy of Toronto Life)
Before the show came along, designers were elusive entities. We almost never heard them speak; they were beyond reach. The show changed all that. But Jeanne Beker and Fashion Television went way beyond the runway and looked at the deeper power of fashion. Who could forget the segment on Pakistan, featuring the late Benazir Bhutto?
I began watching Fashion Television under far-from-glamorous circumstances in war-torn former Yugoslavia, where I grew up. Without sounding too sappy about it, let’s just say it gave me hope, a place to escape. (Okay, that was sappy.) I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Jeanne last year, a surreal experience in so many ways. She is so incredibly passionate about what she does, and I’m sure she’ll continue to educate us about fashion in her next endeavour. It takes an incredible individual to do the same job for 27 years and with that much conviction. Thanks for the magic.