Let’s go back a minute. If you read W, if you read WWD, if you read any of the insider, gossipy, fashion related rags, and even the insider, gossipy non-fashion publications, like Gawker.com, for example, you have John Fairchild to thank.
While he may be a Hearst descendent as a yellow journalist, he’s also a clever reader of what the reader wants, although he says you must not give them what they want but what they never knew they wanted. John Fairchild, through the beauty of nepotism, or what he calls the “family enterprise, Fairchild Publications,” took the helm of Women’s Wear Daily. He’s not ashamed to call it “required reading for those who design, make or sell clothes for the American women, but which Time magazine prefers to call ‘that gossipy, bitchy newspaper of manners, friends and scandal.”
He is happy to tell you that the magazine is controversial, smart and snobby reflecting the business it ostensibly covers. This 1989 book, published when Fairchild was in his sixties and still editor of the magazine, covers the business of fashion, some of the chic savages (Fairchild loves to tell you that he’s coined a term, like “hot pants,” for example) whose deep pockets make the fashion world continue to go around, an inside view on publishing — the launch of W —and other random musings on things like being a WASP. When was the last time you heard that acronym? Finally, as the Queen of namedroppers, Fairchild paints a portrait of the late ’80s moment when the egos and ambitions were as big as the shoulders, Lacroix pouf skirts, and the hair (dear god, Mrs. Kissinger!). It’s also illuminating to see the designers Fairchild promoted through WWD/W and the effect that had on the current pantheon. Worth a minute of your time. And cheap as sin on Amazon.