I wanted a Betsey Johnson dress so badly. But they were expensive then! I think they were like $250 for a prom dress. It was crazy.
Yeah. And her point was–and this really drove it home for me–you’re telling a father of four, who’s making $30,000 a year, that his daughter is going to be denied a prom dress from Betsey Johnson because it’s $250. That really made an impact. And this was before anybody thought about recession, before that was even a word in fashion. We didn’t have chic-onomics, we didn’t have any of these things, we didn’t have H&M, we didn’t have internet! Everything was by fax. Everything was just by going out onto Seventh Avenue and finding these great companies. We would go to Europe, and we would buy things and have them knocked off here, and have the manufacturers actually make them and put them in their line. And they loved it because they got editorial, and they were able to put something else in the line that was a little more forward than what they were thinking. And I think that was an amazing revolutionary thing at the time.
Yeah, that doesn’t happen anymore, does it?
It does, but it’s different now. That $2,000 Lanvin necklace that was just on the cover of Seventeen? You could get somebody to do it for you for less. It’s a big thing, and having stuff copied…you know we were very blatant about it, but back then it was just making it available to the people that really were interested in knowing what was newsy. There was no fashion television. There was no Twitter–there was nothing!
And then I got a call to go to Elle. And you want to talk about really not knowing what you’re doing? I really didn’t know what the hell I was getting into. I was walking into Elle, American Elle, to cover the Paris market. Which on paper sounded fantastic–but I really didn’t know the people. I learned very quickly. But I was only there for a month. I had been in talks, before I went to Elle, to go to Harper’s Bazaar. Paul Cavaco, who was the creative director there, and Tonne Goodman, wanted me to come over, but there was no job. And then somehow, out of the blue, this Elle thing came up. But then I got a phone call that the job that I was doing at Elle was open at Bazaar. So I had trauma over leaving, because at the time, you cared about your career and I didn’t want to be labeled as a jumper. But I left and I went to Bazaar and I was there for five years of incredible bliss. I’m so happy I did it. And by the way, to this day nobody knows I was even at Elle. Even the people that were there. The place was so big.
Was this like, late ’90s?
This was like mid-90s. So then I went to Bazaar….
Was that when Liz Tilberis…?
She’s the reason I wanted to be a fashion writer.
And that’s why I wanted to [go to Bazaar]! And then she died while we were there. And that just ended it for me. I didn’t want to continue there.But I had done it. I mean that was like the height of IT. As great as Vogue was to me…. I don’t even have to explain it to you.
I was 15-16 and thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. And I didn’t care about Vogue! All I cared about was Harper’s Bazaar and Jane. And those two magazines guided me.
So you knew, you felt the same thing.
Yeah, from the outside looking in.
But that was like how I felt when I walked into Vogue, the closet, all those years ago. But after [Tilberis] died, that was it. Luckily for me, I got a phone call to interview at Allure. I would be able to work with Paul Cavaco again, which was the only thing at that moment that was most important to me. And I took it, gratefully, and had seven outstanding years there. I mean we just had the best time, Linda was great, and we were always drunk all the time, all of us. And I think that’s what made our pages great. I mean, this is so unprofessional but it was what it was, we were completely hung-over every day.
How did you end up at Us Weekly?
I would use Us Weekly as my inspiration. It’s everything I love, it’s entertainment, it’s style start to finish. Very similar to Vanity Fair, but much bitchier and much more fun. Janice Min hired me, and crazy as it was to go to the “not-knowing-how-to-call-Christian Lacroix-correctly” at Elle, the weekly vibe and the way that it goes was traumatizing. Like, what do you mean you need it now? How?
So it’s been seven years, and I learned. Because it has to get done. There are no re-shoots, it has to get done. It goes in. You get it done. You find a way.
One thing I really admire about your career is that you did stay at places for very long, and most people don’t do that. I’m 31, I’ve had four jobs, and one of the big reasons I decided to go freelance was because I just want to find a place that I want to be at for a really long time! I’m sure you got a lot of offers along the way, and I’m sure you still get a lot of offers—how did you stay the course?
I think because it’s my training. It’s based on the fact that I trained with the best people. I’m always terrified. I’m constantly terrified, whether it’s of getting fired, or something’s going to go wrong, or whatever. And that I think is very important because it has kept me on my toes. Like, I don’t sit back, I don’t get lazy about things. I always feel like I need to learn something.