Michael Roberts, the author, editor, stylist, and photographer finest recognized for his influential tenures as the style and magnificence director of Vainness Honest journal and the style editor of the New Yorker, died on Monday morning on the age of 75, an in depth pal has confirmed. “It’s with one very heavy coronary heart that we’ve to announce the demise of our beloved pal Michael,” they wrote. “He died peacefully, early on Monday morning, at his house on the island of Sicily.”
All through his wide-ranging five-decade profession, Roberts formed the course of trend via phrases, pictures, and illustrations, along with his physique of labor serving as a unprecedented doc of the trade’s ever-changing panorama. Recognized for his shut working relationship with the Vainness Honest editor Tina Brown—who went on to introduce Roberts to readers of the New Yorker in 1997 as “the Jean Cocteau of the style world”—Roberts’s maverick skills noticed him rise to grow to be one of many trade’s most revered authorities, at the same time as he moved away from styling and writing to discover different artistic avenues in his later profession. In 2022, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for companies to trend as a part of the Queen’s New 12 months Honors.
Born in Buckinghamshire in 1948 to a father from St. Lucia and an English mom, Roberts’s unconventional training started when he was despatched off to boarding faculty after his father died in 1960. He then moved on to review wonderful artwork and graphic design at an artwork faculty in Excessive Wycombe, earlier than finally transferring to the style division. Whereas nonetheless in school, he gained an illustration prize sponsored by an promoting company that allowed him to journey to New York, the place he met Andy Warhol and Richard Avedon, and had his work revealed for the primary time in Girls’s Put on Each day.
Quickly after graduating, Roberts went on to help the celebrated trend editor Molly Parkin on the progressive trend title Nova earlier than transferring along with her to London’s Sunday Occasions in 1969. There, he rapidly gained consideration for his frank and viciously humorous column on the style trade, approaching the rarefied world of favor via a subversive New Journalism lens. (“Saint Laurent calls his slim look the tube; Karl Lagerfeld calls his the tunnel; I can see no mild on the finish of it,” he as soon as wrote.)
After assembly Tina Brown via her husband, the long-serving Sunday Occasions editor Harold Evans, Roberts was invited to affix her as fashion and artwork director when she took over Tatler journal in 1979. The pair made waves with their daring trend tales, remodeling the excessive society bible into one thing altogether edgier. In one among Roberts’s most well-known covers, for the April 1989 challenge, he photographed and styled Vivienne Westwood—the godmother of punk herself—to look as Margaret Thatcher. Roberts additionally commonly collaborated with cutting-edge trend skills, together with Judy Blame and Isabella Blow, inside its pages.
In 1984, when Brown decamped to New York to edit Vainness Honest, Roberts adopted, they usually continued their pioneering work with a splashy debut cowl that includes a Helmut Newton picture of Daryl Hannah blindfolded and clutching two Oscars, earlier than happening to run every thing from lavish trend specials impressed by the L.A. Olympic Video games to Brideshead Revisited, in addition to covers with Raquel Welch and Joan Collins. It was round this time that Roberts additionally started venturing additional into images and filmmaking, notably directing the music video for Bryan Ferry’s 1988 single “Limbo,” profitable himself an MTV Award for finest breakthrough video.
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