Improbable as 70 years as a fashion journalist might seem, Marylou Luther remains ever-questioning and curious. A chronicler of more trends than she could ever count, the Nebraskan has been rooted in New York and traveled internationally for decades. All those years of interviews have given Luther a fine-tuned ear for the quotable, and now many of the bon mots that she elicited from designers fill “Be-Spoke: Revelations from the World’s Most Important Fashion Designers.”
With a career that stretches back to the era when Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga and other esteemed designers ran their namesake houses, the author’s perspective has widened as the fashion industry has burgeoned. Yohji Yamamoto, Demna Gvasalia, Alexander McQueen, Thom Browne, Rei Kawakubo, Michael Kors, Alexander Wang, Ricardo Tisci, John Galliano, Raf Simons, Alessandro Michele and Derek Lam are among the other featured designers in the colorful Rizzoli-published tome that features vibrant illustrations by Ruben Toledo.
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At times during a recent interview, the 92-year-old instinctively answered a question with a question or flipped a question back, eager to hear another opinion. In highlighting how “Be-Spoke” came to be, Luther also detailed some of her own memorable events in spotting the waves of fashion. The idea for the book surfaced while sifting through her files three years ago and noticed one titled “Designer Comments.” After floating the proposition by her friend of many years Toledo, who was game for the creative endeavor, Luther was off and running.
More than anything, the author wants people to know that designers have something to say, more than just the clothes that they produce. Case in point is André Courrèges, who predicted that trends that impact society for seven years or more always begin after a major calamity or a scientific