Gwyneth Paltrow graces the May issue of Harper's Bazaar. Photo: Douglas Friedman

Last July, the fashion world was greatly saddened to hear that Imitation of Christ designer Tara Subkoff was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma brain tumor that could, if not operated on in time, be fatal within two years.

Since Subkoff had no insurance to cover the detailed procedure, which required 11 specialists, friends in the art and fashion worlds banded together to raise money to help offset her costs.

Now, less than a year later, the formerly rebellious Subkoff has bounced back from surgery with a different frame of mind. In the May issue of Harper's Bazaar, she shares her story.

"Life is so fast, it feels important to stop and freeze and appreciate the now," she tells the magazine. "Even if the now is being stuck in hideous traffic with a flat tire, I bet if you look, there's a doughnut shop across the street. So just before I lose control, I take a breath and try to remember that there's always something sweet just around the corner."

This optimistic attitude is worlds away from the often controversial Subkoff who held the first Imitation of Christ show in a funeral parlor, once sent Scarlett Johansson down the runway smoking a cigarette, and another time had all of her models vacuuming topless in an odd Vanessa Beecroft-ish piece of performance art. But Subkoff says she's a different person now.

Tara Subkoff, happy, healthy, and optimistic after her brain surgery last summer. Photo: Douglas Friedman

"I started working in this industry when I was so young and such a little punk. I was discussing stuff I wasn't mature enough to understand, and some of the things I said were so silly and controversial," she admits. "But I'd like to think I understand it all a little better now. What can I say? I'm in a much different place, and I'd like to apologize to anyone I offended in my brash days."

As for the future of Imitation of Christ -- which was founded on the idea of reworking secondhand clothing and once boasted Chloë Sevingy as creative director -- Subkoff says it's very much alive and well.

"While I've been recovering, I've decided to bring back IOC in its most basic incarnation: easy-to-wear staples with an edge," she says. "I'm calling this line just 'Imitation.' I'm inspired by Coco Chanel and her use of jersey. I'd like to do that with Imitation. I want something effortless as a T-shirt, but in dress, trench, and jacket shapes."

To read more about Subkoff's recovery, including her new movie role (she's previously starred in a handful of indies, as well as "Anchorman"), pick up the new issue of Harper's Bazaar, on newsstands April 27.

To see which other stars are baring all for the May issue of Bazaar, keep clicking.