one of my first days at condé nast i had to give a presentation to anna wintour, amy astley, si newhouse, and a few other executives about my vision for teen vogue's beauty and health coverage. when it was my turn i walked up to the podium, but even in my marc jacobs' heels, i couldn't see over it. the room laughed quietly while our advertising director jumped up and found a makeshift step stool. i had to give a presentation to si newhouse on a step stool. anna always seemed to like me after that.
i told amalle that i wanted to do a materialist lecture on women and power and fashion magazines. actually, i’d probably prefer to do something more high concept, but i can get that in there, too. one of the things that irked me back when i used to present at all those feminist media conferences was that no one seemed to understand how fashion magazines actually worked.
no one understood how the times worked, either. i was once in a roomful of feminists complaining about the newspaper’s lack of women’s bylines until i raised my hand and asked if anyone had ever actually pitched any editors there. no, they had not. i announced that i was an editor there, and i almost never got pitches, and would be happy to look at their ideas. but that would entail actually getting them.
people are right to criticize the media. it’s just that they are often criticizing from the wrong direction.
anyway, both of these stories are probably irrelevant for amalle’s classroom. so, too, the time i heard an editor-in-chief approach the assistants and interns in the fashion closet and tell them they needed to make calling in clothes for her to wear at events their top priority, because she was absolutely going to be photographed with famous people. she was right and she shouldn’t have had to tell them.
i guess that story isn’t exactly relevant either. maybe i will have the students read excerpts from mary cantwell’s manhattan, when i was young for historical background. i could have them read from my own book on sassy or a story i once wrote on this topic for bitch, though assigning your own work is usually tacky. maybe we will screen “vogue: the editor’s eye,” probably my favorite movie of all time, and one that deserves its own post. (polly mellen crying to diana vreeland about everyone hating her and diana vreeland responding “polly, who needs friends? get on with it.” indeed, and that’s not even the best part.)
but i’m also tempted to talk about fashion’s figuration of the crazy woman, something i have written about before, in a story i post on this tumblr at least once a year. it pains me that the link seems to be broken. there’s so much there and i haven’t stopped being interested.