Remembering Louise Wilson, Central Saint Martins' Legendary Professor【VOGUE.com】
The sudden loss of Professor Louise Wilson, OBE, has left dozens of London designers inconsolable this weekend, as well as the many more she taught who populate the design studios of New York and Paris. “Without Louise I would not be here,” said Christopher Kane yesterday. That simple emotion is echoed over and over by the alumni who have had their talents forged in the furnace of Professor Wilson’s critiques in her Central Saint Martins office. “Louise had a special talent to see right inside of us all,” said Mary Katrantzou, who recalls the terrifying utterance directed toward every newcomer who quaked in front of her desk: “Impress me.”
Wilson was famously hard to impress. She had seen and retained it all about fashion, since she herself has been a childhood reader of her mother’s Vogues, and then graduated, a few years after John Galliano, from the then Saint Martins School of Art in 1986—the high clubbing/fashion/music years of which she took full advantage. No reference escaped her and no plagiarism was tolerated, but what drew Wilson to persist was the possibility that some new flash of originality would eventually materialize from within her students’ brains. Anyone who expected her to serve up creative orders on a plate was in for one of Wilson’s famous slap-downs. A politer variant was her declaration: “We don’t know what we want, but we know it when we see it.”
Laziness could make her irate. “I’ve seen Louise drop-kick a mannequin across the studio when she was frustrated with a student’s work,” said Richard Nicoll, “And there are a plenty more stories like that.” Once, a student was expelled from her office at such velocity that his scarf was slammed in the door. The professor continued her work late into the evening and was surprised to see a figure huddled on the floor outside. He had been too afraid to knock and ask for his scarf back five hours earlier.
Nevertheless, what drove Wilson was, as she said, the “privilege” of being around youth. Her lasting friendships with the designers she really rated was her reward. “She would tell me everything like a mother would—if my hair looked shit, if she liked something I did. I found her very ‘mother-y,’ ” said Roksanda Ilincic. Self-laceratingly, Wilson would never boast or make assumptions about her entitlement to invitations, yet she could easily have laid claim to being the generator of what is being dubbed the current "Golden Age" of London fashion. Two dozen of the women’s and menswear designers who show in London are alums of Central Saint Martins’ MA program, including: Kane, Katrantzou, Jonathan Saunders, Ilincic, Nicoll, Marios Schwab, Simone Rocha, Thomas Tait, J. JS Lee, Michael van der Ham, and Marques’ Almeida. The success of the first generation of new professional British designers who sell globally at a luxury level is linked directly back to the visionary who saw each person as an individual and had no taboos or snobbery about what constitutes fashion. London Fashion Week became characterized by variety, energy, and surprise for onlookers, and for the ones inside it, there was the unique London-community camaraderie amongst those who were driven to define themselves by Wilson.
What students saw when facing their professor was not just her impassive, black-clad, all-seeing presence, but the pin board behind her desk in her office, famously covered with show invitations, thank you notes, and quotes she liked. That wall was testament to how so many people adored and relied on her over 22 years as the MA course leader, including Alber Elbaz at Lanvin, who was one of the beneficiaries of the fact she became an unofficial matchmaker between houses and graduates. “The people Louise sent me were always the best, always the ones who have stayed. I loved Louise,” he said.
Accolades and recognitions came her way. In 2008, she was honored to receive the Order of the British Empire for Services to Fashion and Education from the Queen, and in 2013 was almost as gratified to receive a happy birthday shout-out from Kanye West at his gig at the Hammersmith Odeon. Her current students, also there, cheered on, boasting “Happy Birthday Louise Wilson!” on the student website 1granary.com. West had petitioned her as a student, coming to see her at the college with plans for his line. She was not unduly impressed, and sent West away, though since the fanship also ran the other way, (Wilson loved rap, Motown, African-American music and culture in general), the professor and Yeezus formed a funny, good-natured, mutual admiration.
Wilson leaves her Ghanaian partner, Timmi Aggrey, and their 23-year-old son TJ. They, and the wider family of fashion she created, are deeply mourning her today. Current students at Central Saint Martins are planning a vigil in her memory tomorrow.
投稿者 unicon : 12:33