A 2012 Tim Walker Photo Delivers Fantasy in a Time of Isolation

David Vo
<h1 class="title">COTTON CANDYFrom left: Xiao Wen Ju in a floral embellished vest and a silk dress with caged skirt; Anais Pouliot in a silk bustle dress with tied-bow sleeves and boots. Gustavsson in a cocoon-shaped lace dress with knit flowers and lace-up shoes. All by C</h1> <div class="caption"> COTTON CANDY: <em>From left:</em> Xiao Wen Ju in a floral embellished vest and a silk dress with caged skirt; Anais Pouliot in a silk bustle dress with tied-bow sleeves and boots. Frida Gustavsson in a cocoon-shaped lace dress with knit flowers and lace-up shoes. All by Comme des Garçons. Headpieces created by Gary Card and Kohei Nawa. </div> <cite class="credit">Photographed by Tim Walker, <em>Vogue,</em> May 2012</cite>

COTTON CANDYFrom left: Xiao Wen Ju in a floral embellished vest and a silk dress with caged skirt; Anais Pouliot in a silk bustle dress with tied-bow sleeves and boots. Gustavsson in a cocoon-shaped lace dress with knit flowers and lace-up shoes. All by C

COTTON CANDY: From left: Xiao Wen Ju in a floral embellished vest and a silk dress with caged skirt; Anais Pouliot in a silk bustle dress with tied-bow sleeves and boots. Frida Gustavsson in a cocoon-shaped lace dress with knit flowers and lace-up shoes. All by Comme des Garçons. Headpieces created by Gary Card and Kohei Nawa.
Photographed by Tim Walker, Vogue, May 2012

This story is part of a series, Past/Present, highlighting images and articles from Vogue that have personal significance to our editors.

Even before grocery stores were emptied of toilet paper (which sent my parents hunting for rolls online), we were, for better or for worse, a society that champions excess. Believers in being “extra.” Truth be told, there are instances when more truly is more—as in the photographs of Tim Walker.

Described as the “last romantic” by fellow fashion photographers, Walker uses elaborate sets and quixotic narratives that seem to make daydreams real. Case in point is a photograph from his 2012 editorial, “Jewel in the Crown,” in which he placed models dressed in head-to-toe Comme des Garçons, like vessels of light glowing among shadowy birches on a dark forest floor. Maybe it’s true when Walker said that with every fairy tale comes darkness.

Now that our lives are no longer bookended by commutes, but shaped by non-stop press conferences and endless Zoom meetings, Walker’s idyllic worlds feel like exactly what we need right now. While we are on pause, why not give ourselves permission to get lost in our own imaginations? To give in to flights of fantasy. It’s time to paint that mural you’ve been too afraid to start (me!), break out the old sewing machine, throw out the usual recipes, and rewatch the films that first lit our fire. We need fantasy as we soldier through this worldwide pandemic, and Walker delivers it. Not only does he give us fashion, he gives us permission to dream.

“Jewel in the Crown,” by Leslie Camhi, photographed by Tim Walker, first appeared in the May 2012 issue of the magazine. Fashion Editor: Phyllis Posnick. Hair, Julien d'Ys for Julien d’Ys; makeup, Val Garland. Produced by AND Production.

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Originally Appeared on Vogue