Wilson struts his stuff at InStyle

NEW YORK – From his office on the 26th floor of the Time & Life Building, Eric Wilson has an “amazing view” of Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, the skating rink and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Wilson has climbed to a lofty position in fashion journalism since graduating from Parkersburg High School in 1990.

In November, Wilson, 41, became InStyle magazine’s first fashion news director. His job involves writing, editing and planning news coverage for the print and online fashion and celebrity magazine.

Wilson joined InStyle after working as a reporter at The New York Times for nine years in the newspaper’s Fashion & Style section.

A graduate of New York University in 1994, he covered fashion for Women’s Wear Daily before joining The Times.

Wilson recently returned to New York City after spending nine days at the Paris Fashion Week, where fall fashions were previewed. For several years, he also has reported from fashion weeks in New York City, London and Milan, Italy.

Wilson found the fashion trend of leopard prints on coats and tops in Paris, like in the 1960s and ’70s, to be an interesting development.

“It was great fun,” Wilson said of being in Paris. And a “tough pace,” he noted. His days ran from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with a dinner break, covering the Paris fashion scene.

One of the highlights was the show created by Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld at Grand Palais, Wilson said. It was held in an enormous building designed like a supermarket filled with Coco Chanel products.

Wilson said the Paris fashions featured professional work clothes like suits and sweaters.

“It wasn’t all play clothes,” he said.

Residents of Paris seem more hospitable to outsiders than they were years ago, Wilson said. He has been covering Paris fashion shows for 10 years and made his first trip to Paris while a student at Jackson Junior High School in Vienna.

Paris has become more global and part of the international stage, Wilson said. He has found the city to be more accessible and friendly while retaining its beautiful architecture and classic amenities.

Although the fall clothing colors are darker, as seen in Paris, Wilson noted a trend toward red dresses in New York City.

Wilson is enjoying his new job at InStyle. He said he is doing something new – editing – and doesn’t have the daily responsibilities he had at The New York Times.

He will be writing about what celebrities are wearing and who is designing their clothes.

“We are bringing in designers’ voices (to the magazine) and treating designers like celebrities,” Wilson said.

Wilson will be writing about the fashion industry, the ethics of fashion and the construction of clothes, he said. He believes fashion coverage should appeal to a broad range of readers by writing about everyday clothes along with what models are wearing on the fashion runways.

Fashion stories should be fun and accessible and “not so serious,” he said. Wilson plans to report on the clothes consumers are looking for.

Wilson’s departure from The New York Times drew media attention and demonstrated the respect he has earned as a fashion reporter and critic.

“The New York Times is an amazing place to work,” he said, adding he enjoyed working at the newspaper.

Wilson said he was surprised by the write-ups about him leaving The Times.

Wilson still owns and wears a Parkersburg High School sweatshirt that was used to illustrate an article on eco-shopping/green fashion he wrote for The Times.

Wilson, whose middle name is Dennis and many knew him as “Denny” in Parkersburg, was co-editor of The Journal his senior year at PHS.

He is the son of Joe and Becky Wilson, who live in South Carolina.

Wilson said he became interested in newspaper work at an early age. His grandfather Woodrow Wilson was publisher of The Wirt County Journal in Elizabeth, where Eric remembers as a boy watching the printing press run.

Wilson said he has been curious about fashion since reading Interview magazine, founded by Andy Warhol, at the Parkersburg library. Wilson later worked for Interview.