I often wonder whether I love fashion, or whether I love what fashion used to be, or what it used to mean to me. And when I think about fashion, I always think ’90s. I suppose being attached to the decade of one’s formative years is probably very common, but I will argue until the end of time that the ’90s were truly magical. My argument would contain a slew of talents (and, if you’ve been reading for a while, you can guess the suspects), but at the top of my list would be the late Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief, Liz Tilberis.
We now refer to Anna Wintour as the ultimate ruler of fashion — and, sure, she is — but if Liz Tilberis hadn’t passed away in 1999 at the young age of 51, she would’ve given Ms. Wintour some very-much-needed competition for the throne. (The two had worked together at British Vogue.) When Tilberis took over Harper’s Bazaar, her goal was to make it ”the most beautiful fashion magazine in the world.” She did. Her debut September 1992 “Enter the Era of Elegance” cover, starring Linda Evangelista dressed in black lace, is just as iconic as Wintour’s November 1988 Vogue. The late editor went on to produce some of the decade’s most beautiful covers, embracing ’90 minimalism with a lovely, breezy quality.
It was the covers that drew me in. As a teenager growing up in Croatia, the foreign mags were kept behind the counter and were often wrapped in plastic, thus no browsing was allowed. And I certainly couldn’t afford import prices, so I read them at the library, for hours.
Elizabeth Tilberis, 51, Magazine Editor, Dies, The New York Times
A Retrospective: Harper’s Bazaar US under Liz Tilberis, The Fashion Spot
Pretty Pictures: Harper’s Bazaar Covers by Liz Tilberis, Searching For Style