Just in case you are searching around for last minute present ideas, I can thoroughly recommend the gossipy, fast-paced, style-nostalgia trip through the eighties and early nineties that is The Vanity Fair Diaries, written by Tina Brown. It’s a detailed story of Tina’s editorial climb from British Tatler, to US Vanity Fair and then The New Yorker, remembered astutely because her allergic reaction to alcohol meant she kept excellent notes on events as they happened.
For anyone who lived through the period – either here or in the US – its a trip down memory lane for the high-camp, power-mad style and constant entertaining that went on. Everyone wanted to live in a bigger house, get paid a fortune, drive a faster car and wear brasher suits with wider shoulders. Mindful it was not. Tina writes with a wicked BFF style wit, gained from sitting around too many restaurant tables to count with too many outrageously behaved and frequently famous people. It’s a total hoot.
What’s really caught my attention though, is the insightful drama around how Tina and her team pulled the failing Vanity Fair out of its downward dive to oblivion and made it the hottest high-low read around. Her recollections of stressful conversations around type face and page layouts are interspersed with tales of grumpy editors and art-room hissy fits, all while trying to get the best writers and best photographers to up their game for her.
It’s a perfect accompaniment the unfurling of Edward Enninful’s new Vogue UK. No that Vogue is on a downward dive, but we know there have been a few disjointed noses and editorial shake ups and one imagines there will be more. I liked the December issue of Vogue, but thought January was extremely dull, but as Tina states, it takes a long time to get everything right.
If you’re feeling very generous, you could buy both.