After a Fashion

July 13, 2016

 

 

Pauline Trigere, the great American fashion designer, told me, “You’re a much better

writer than you are a designer!” I should probably have listened to her, but instead 

took the path of trying to be the next Norman Norell. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

 

I almost became a bonafide journalist at the starting gate. While studying fashion 

design at Parsons, I made extra money writing articles for a trend spotting industry 

publication aimed at retailers. Somehow, someway, my writing was noticed by 

someone at Women’s Wear Daily, and I was called in for an interview. It was an 

agonizing process- meeting after meeting- first with editors, then Michael Coady, 

publisher John Fairchild’s lieutenant. Finally, I was informed that they were 

definitely interested in offering me a position as a staff writer, and that it was down 

to one other candidate and me. There would be one final test: I had to do a celebrity 

interview and file my story within one hour. The subject: actor James Woods.

 

On the designated day, I was instructed to meet Woods at his hotel on the Upper 

East Side. Now you must remember, this was before email, and the WWD offices 

were off lower Fifth Avenue, but I had a plan. A friend was temping as a receptionist 

for a well-known ophthalmic surgeon whose office was across the street from the 

hotel. After the interview, I would duck in, tap out the article on an available 

typewriter, and FAX it down to WWD.

 

Of course, I read up on Wood’s career. At that point, he had just finished making 

“The Onion Field” and was on the rise. I learned the word “odious.” We had a terrific 

chat, shared thoughts on Chicago (I had attended Northwestern University in 

Evanston for a heartbeat) and I dashed across the street to write and fax. The piece 

flowed with ease and I was sure that the job would be mine.

 

 

Later that week, I received the call. “Your article was terrific, but we decided to go 

with a gal that has already had a year of magazine experience,” I was told. Her name 

was Lorna Koski, and she’s now the Associate Editor of Fairchild Publications, 

WWD’s parent company. And that’s what made up my mind that regardless of 

Pauline Trigere’s advice, I would become a fashion designer by hell or high water.

So for whatever success I have enjoyed, I suppose I have James Woods and Lorna 

Koski to thank. But now, at this point in my life, I have finally decided to listen to 

Pauline.

 

 

 

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