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Five New Yorker Fashion Profiles You Must Read!

With the news that The New Yorker has redesigned its website and opened its archives to the public until a paywall is established this autumn, readers everywhere have been devouring ninety years worth of the most engaging journalism and fiction ever printed. On readers, desktops, phones, and even printed out for beach consumption, everyone is catching up during what the magazine calls a “summer-long free-for-all.” As fashion nerds, we are most excited about the incomparable profiles of the industry’s most compelling characters, from Richard Avedon to Marc Jacobs (with pit stops at the inventor of Spanx and Harlem’s most notorious counterfeiter). The New Yorker has always covered fashion enthusiastically. Lois Long began the ‘Fifth Avenue’ column in 1925, which later became ‘On and Off the Avenue,’ which still exists today. To mark this sweet gift of summer reading, i-D gives you the five fashion profiles not to miss during the archive’s opening.

Text Rory Satran
Images courtesy The New Yorker 

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  • Richard Avedon: A Woman Entering a Taxi in the Rain

    This delightfully lengthy profile of Richard Avedon at his peak is proof that The New Yorker has not changed much in the last fifty years. Noted violinist and critic Winthrop Sargeant was one of the writers who set the precedent for the long-form articles that still define the magazine today. In A Woman Entering a Taxi in the Rain, (the title refers to one of the poetic moments immortalised by R.A.) Sargeant captures the great photographer at age thirty-five, when he was photographing regularly for Diana Vreeland’s Harper’s Bazaar, and had been catapulted to fame by his fictionalisation in 'Funny Face.' Over the course of over eight thousand words, we learn that Avedon reviles the countryside, adores his wife, and procures most of his income from advertisements for products such as Pabst beer (!).

    Read the whole article here.

    Richard Avedon: A Woman Entering a Taxi in the Rain

  • John Galliano: The Fantasist

    Before the shockingly sudden downfall of John Galliano, he was fashion’s irrepressible enfant terrible, jumping from high to high. Michael Specter’s 2003 article is fascinating in that it feels like a time capsule, both of Galliano’s career as well as LVMH. The piece shows how much the fashion mega-corp has modernised in the ten years since it was written, going from a dependence on mercurial yet talented designers like Galliano, to a more diversified, global, corporate approach today.

    Read the whole article here.

    John Galliano: The Fantasist

  • Rodarte: Twisted Sisters

    In Amanda Fortini’s 2010 profile of Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, not much “happens.” We are a fly on the wall for their autumn/winter 09 runway show, privy to the tiny dramas of dressing models and lacing their boots. They obsess over fabrics, email a mill, take a tour of Colette. But in the way that the best documentaries are better than fiction, the piece is imbued with a sense of drama. There are characters, and stakes, and a bit of a plot (Will the Mulleavys conquer the fashion world? Will they take over a major house?). Along with the lovely Nan Goldin portrait, it’s a gem of a story to rediscover.

    Read the whole article here.


    Rodarte: Twisted Sisters

  • Harlem Chic

    Fashion is not all LVMH this, and Vogue that; it’s also about the street. Kelefa Sanneh’s investigation of late eighties Harlem logo-trafficking is an insightful look into how luxury filtered into the street around the rap world of the late 80s and early 90s. Dapper Dan’s 125th street storefront sold extreme counterfeit designer goods - think Louis Vuitton logo-print snorkel parkas - to a clientele rich in musicians, athletes, and drug dealers. Daniel Day churned out the designs that stylist June Ambrose called “luxury on steroids.” An essential read for anyone interested in the cultural impact of fashion.

    Read the whole article here.


  • Betty Halbreich: Ask Betty

    The New Yorker is a living institution in part because it continues to open windows onto a city (and a world) we think we know. Judith Thurman was one of the first to introduce us to Betty Halbreich, the theatrically fabulous 86 year-old personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman. After the article was published, Lena Dunham contacted Halbreich to collaborate on an upcoming television series, which will likely be the best TV show since, well, ‘Girls.’ After ‘Ask Betty,’ Thurman appeared in The New Yorker Festival, published a memoir, and was featured in a follow-up article, ‘Still Asking Betty.’

    Read the whole article here.


    Betty Halbreich: Ask Betty