It takes an enormous amount of confidence to easily get fashion heavyweights (think Calvin Klein, Bruce Weber, and Marc Jacobs) to frankly open up about their careers and personal lives. And that's exactly what Fern Mallis has successfully done since 2011.
In honor of her famous sit-downs at the 92Y in New York, the former CFDA executive director celebrated the release of her new book, Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons With Fern Mallis, at a cocktail party inside Saks Fifth Avenue last night in New York. The author's notoriety was evident from her very respectable guest list, which included Michael Kors, Nanette Lepore, Tommy Hilfiger, and LuAnn De Lesseps, all of whom sipped champagne and snagged freshly signed copies of Mallis's book.
"What I like about Fern is that she has a lot of clarity. She knows what she wants and she knows how to get it," Diane von Furstenberg told InStyle. Martha Stewart added: "She's a professional in a difficult and fickle world, and she's been a big supporter of fashion and a great spokesperson for fashion and has really done an amazing job."
So what has been the key to getting designers, editors, and photographers to spill the beans? "I just try to make them comfortable, and I ask questions that are personal," Mallis said. She went on to cite one of her favorite stories: the moment when legendary New York photographer Bill Cunningham revealed that the black suit Jackie Kennedy wore to the President's funeral was originally red. "There wasn't time to get the fabric and to make a new suit, so overnight we dyed it black," Cunninham says in the book. "To me, that was such a piece of fashion history," Mallis added.
The book is available now for $36 on amazon.com.