PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas December 2022

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 97 of 99

I 'll be the first to admit, I can occasionally fanboy out and lose focus when interviewing someone for this column. Particularly when my subject is a fashion icon — in this case, Robin Wilkes. I've known her for years, but during our official interview, we had an enchanting and meandering conversation. It was a mini history of fashion. Born in Storm Lake, Iowa, Robin was the middle child of three. "My mother and grandmother both had amazing taste," she shared. "I've always loved fashion." She recalls being different i n h i g h s c h o o l , wanting to express her individuality through her clothing. She gravitated toward art at an early age, taking private art lessons at the age of six. But her pragmatic side won out, and she attended P a t r i c i a S t e v e n s Fashion College in Omaha. Her desire to enter the field was all-encompassing, however, so she left her studies behind and jumped headfirst into a career. At 22, she moved to Dallas and secured a job at Timothy Shoe Store. It was the heady '80s, and everyone was ready to get glammed up and party. Larry North, who sold shoes with her, was a bouncer a t t h e i n f a m o u s Pappagallo nightclub. Her stories from that era reminded me of a former She's the Bomb s u b j e c t , M i c h e l l e Nussbaumer — who happens to be a dear friend of Robin's; Michelle's photo showed her modeling for a Pappagallo club promotion. "What was your look at the time?" I asked Robin. "Well," she responded, "I was very punk with short spiky hair. Lots of Norma Kamali with big shoulder pads." Could I love her more. By this point in the conversation, our rhythm was staccato and jumping all over the fashion map. Her résumé reads like a history of covetable retail. She was a partner in the boutique Gerlo Scherer at the Galleria from 1984 to 1988 that specialized in Jil Sander. She spent time working for Cartier. She had stints at Neiman Marcus. I could go on and on but suffice to say that she has seen it all and dressed countless clients in the most fabulous looks. Given her fashion pedigree, I wonder why Robin never found her way to New York City or even Europe. The answer is simple: love. In the late '90s, she was walking her dachshund on McKinney Avenue, and another dog came lurching over. She grabbed her beloved pet, only to be bitten herself. That dog belonged to her future husband. He was Warren Wilkes, owner of the namesake hair salon. After this meet-cute, they married. "Who did you wear?" I asked, knowing that it was unlikely to be a traditional Vera Wang. "I wore a slip dress," she said, then added, "similar to the one worn by Carolyn Bessette on her wedding day to John F. Kennedy Jr." Her fashion journey eventually brought her to Forty Five Ten's original location on McKinney Avenue (note to self, lots of fortuitous things can happen on that road). Robin was brought on board as the Celine specialist — buying and making sure Celine sold to a very selective group of clientele who understood the brand. Seven years later, she regularly assists and travels with fashion director Jordan Jones to Europe to attend shows and plot the boutique's fashion strategy. Anne Wallach, Forty Five Ten president and COO, says, "Robin's keen eye is put to use as we travel to Europe throughout the year for market, curating looks and hand-selecting pieces for our roster of discriminating clients." Approximate date of photo. Fall 1959. The occasion. Our family's annual portrait session. What you were wearing. A brown cotton dress with hat, gloves, and most likely frilly ankle socks, classic Mary Jane shoes, and a daytime bag. [Does Robin not deliver? What toddler has a daytime bag?] What price fashion. C o r e m e m o r i e s throughout my life are fashion related. With my first job and first paycheck at age 15, I put a Bobbie Brooks outfit on layaway. It was an adorable, c r o p p e d U - n e c k fisherman sweater with a blue plaid trouser. My total cost for that outfit was minimal, but I loved it! What makes this a Bomb picture. This shows my fondness for fashion even as a toddler. My mother always made sure I was dressed to perfection, instilling in me a lifelong love with fashion. The feelings and excitement I get with the perfect ensemble are no different today than when I was three years old. She's The Bomb: Robin Wilkes By Billy Fong Robin Wilkes, 1959

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - PaperCity Dallas December 2022