Hairdressed Into History

As is true of any royal visit, there were many logistical problems to be worked out. As the junior man in the bureau, I was given the task of finding the hairdresser. I would not insist that Moscow was short on luxury in those days except to note that I did not so much find a hairdresser as create one. At one of the embassies, I found a young woman who was said to own a blow-dryer an da brush. I rang her up and explained the situation. Gravely, as if we were negotiating the Treaty of Ghent, I gave her an annotated copy of Vogue, a mug shot of Mrs. Graham, and a hundred dollars.

"You’re on," she said.

This was my most important contribution to the interview with the General Secretary of the Communist Party. On the appointed day, I put on my good blue suit, fired up the office Volvo, and proudly drove the hairdresser to Mrs. Graham’s suite at the National Hotel. Apparently, the interview went well. It was featured, with a photograph, in the next day’s edition of Pravda. Mrs. Graham looked quite handsome, I thought. A nice full head of hair, and well combed. I felt close to history.

David Remnick on Katharine Graham’s 1988 visit to Moscow, The New Yorker, January 20, 1997.

Lines From The June 3, 2013 Issue of The New Yorker That Sustained Me On A Protracted And Delay-Plagued Commute

  • "…a cable executive who goes, ‘I like it—it’s timely. Is it too timely?’” [Colin Quinn Talk of the Town, p. 21]

  • "They brought a sexiness to one of the most profoundly unsexy towns in the world," Peter Smith, a writer who happens to be Gordon’s neighbor and astrologer, told me. [Kim Gordon profile, p. 23]
  • "Then she saw the overturned box nad realized she had eaten one of the nutrition bars that she breaks apart and feeds her painted turtles. These bars are around four inches long and are made of dead flies, pressed together the way Duraflame logs are. ‘Not only that,’ she said. ‘But when I was through I ate all the petals off my poinsettia.’" [David Sedaris, p. 29]
  • "Douglas’ Liberace is your classic ‘bossy bottom’…" [TV review, p. 69 (!)]

  • "The first film, in 2001, was called ‘The Fast and the Furious,’ but the going has been so rough and so raw, over the years, that at some point the definite articles dropped off. I prefer the stripped-down version, and can’t help wishing that the principle had been applied more freely in the past: ‘Bad & Beautiful,’ ‘Good, Bad & Ugly,’ ‘Remains of Day.’" [Film review, p. 75]
  • "Diesel, of course, slots into the ‘Fast and Furious’ films as neatly as a dipstick. Not only does his name remind you of the stuff you pump into a car, when he opens his mouth, he actually sounds like a car, as if there were a tiny driver strapped into his larynx with one foot on the gas. ‘Yestl sum grrrr,” Toretto says to Letty, suavely informing her that she is still the same girl.” [Film review, p. 75]

And I didn’t even get to the sniper story!

Paul Williams, founding editor of Crawdaddy!, 1949-2013.

Paul Williams, founding editor of Crawdaddy!, 1949-2013.

The Rebooters



For M’s spring issue, deputy editor Matthew Schneier considered the recharging of the fashion guard in 2013.

In fashion as in any other arena, history casts a long shadow. History confers authority, which is one reason to trumpet it (Prada dal 1913, say). In the face-off between fashion (fickle, changeable) and style (stable, constant), history sides with the latter. But fashion houses, like fashion designers, age, and history is not necessarily a perpetuation of quality. Classics get dusty. Eminences go gris. The care and keeping of a fashion house sometimes calls for fresh blood. Resurrection, rejuvenation, reconceptions abound. Transfusions are available. Reboot is rampant.

The great houses of Paris and Milan—even the younger houses of fashion’s start-up capital, New York—have swapped their iron-clamped doors for revolving ones.

Labels live on long after their namesakes have departed, whether they’ve left the mortal plane or merely the building; others die for a time before springing, like Lazarus, back to life. The fashion calendar is more or less a directory of the old turned new: in New York, Calvin Klein; in Milan, Gucci, Brioni, Berluti; in Paris, Carven, Kenzo, Valentino, and Vuitton. They can change dynastically (Cavalli, Missoni) or diffusely. They can boot up (Dior Homme, born under Hedi Slimane in 2001) and then reboot (born again under Kris Van Assche, 2007). This is to name only a select few. Time and space are in short supply; reboots are not.

Read More


Text, photographs, quotes, links, conversations, audio and visual material preserved for future reference.