Fashionistas

( 10 )

Overview

At Fashionista, all is fair in fashion and war.

Life at Fashionista magazine can be a real bitch. Especially when you work for one.

Vig Morgan finally worked her way out of the assistant-for-the-bitch-from-hell trenches only to get stuck in a sea of editors. But Vig isn't like the other associate editors at the aggressively hip and overwhelmingly current Fashionista magazine. For one thing, she couldn't care less which star wore which designer ...

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Fashionistas

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Overview

At Fashionista, all is fair in fashion and war.

Life at Fashionista magazine can be a real bitch. Especially when you work for one.

Vig Morgan finally worked her way out of the assistant-for-the-bitch-from-hell trenches only to get stuck in a sea of editors. But Vig isn't like the other associate editors at the aggressively hip and overwhelmingly current Fashionista magazine. For one thing, she couldn't care less which star wore which designer to which party. Sure, she's clever and witty — and just as ambitious as the next over qualified underpaid underling, but she would never get drawn into a plot to depose the evil editor-in-chief. Or would she?

Jump with Vig into the choppy waters of scheming, backstabbing, free speech, flirtation and fashion, as the lackeys at the bottom of the masthead band together to take down the queen at the top, with some unexpected — but not necessarily unpleasant — results.

Lynn Messina lives in New York City and works in magazines. She's currently working on her second novel.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics

An attempted putsch at glossy Fashionista magazine is the wickedly entertaining subject of Messina's debut novel. Smart, frustrated Vig Morgan is toiling as an associate editor ("A trend needs three examples to be declared-two might be a coincidence-and I frequently have to dig deep to find the third") under the tyrannical rule of editor-in-chief Jane McNeill. When a charismatic new editorial director, Marguerite, arrives on the scene, Vig and other lowly staffers come up with a bold and unlikely strategy to depose Jane. The plan is to get Fashionista to feature controversial artist Gavin Marshall, who outfits Jesus statues in Chanel and Dior. Readers will be incensed, advertisers alienated and Jane fired, the underlings reason.

Vig's duty is to manipulate the misanthropic events editor, Alex Keller, whom no one has ever seen, into putting snapshots from Gavin's gallery opening in the magazine's events section. A visit to Alex's house reveals he is not the "wart-faced troll" Vig imagined, but a handsome young man who allows his Machiavellian secretary to do his job while he secretly goes to hitecture school. Vig blackmails Alex; commiserates with her friend Maya over cocktails in swanky hotel bars; watches the catfights between Marguerite and Jane, who turn out to be old enemies (they were up-and-coming co-editors until Jane had the INS deport Marguerite back to Australia); and becomes increasingly smitten with Alex. The clever, single New York-publishing-type protagonist is standard chick lit fare, but Vig is refreshingly free from neurotic body obsessions and boyfriend angst. Messina's prose is witty and assured (she's read her Austen, her Wharton, her Noel Coward), and her novel is an irresistible frolic.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Publishers Weekly

An attempted putsch at glossy Fashionista magazine is the wickedly entertaining subject of Messina's debut novel. Smart, frustrated Vig Morgan is toiling as an associate editor ("A trend needs three examples to be declared-two might be a coincidence-and I frequently have to dig deep to find the third") under the tyrannical rule of editor-in-chief Jane McNeill. When a charismatic new editorial director, Marguerite, arrives on the scene, Vig and other lowly staffers come up with a bold and unlikely strategy to depose Jane. The plan is to get Fashionista to feature controversial artist Gavin Marshall, who outfits Jesus statues in Chanel and Dior. Readers will be incensed, advertisers alienated and Jane fired, the underlings reason.

Vig's duty is to manipulate the misanthropic events editor, Alex Keller, whom no one has ever seen, into putting snapshots from Gavin's gallery opening in the magazine's events section. A visit to Alex's house reveals he is not the "wart-faced troll" Vig imagined, but a handsome young man who allows his Machiavellian secretary to do his job while he secretly goes to hitecture school. Vig blackmails Alex; commiserates with her friend Maya over cocktails in swanky hotel bars; watches the catfights between Marguerite and Jane, who turn out to be old enemies (they were up-and-coming co-editors until Jane had the INS deport Marguerite back to Australia); and becomes increasingly smitten with Alex. The clever, single New York-publishing-type protagonist is standard chick lit fare, but Vig is refreshingly free from neurotic body obsessions and boyfriend angst. Messina's prose is witty and assured (she's read her Austen, her Wharton, her Noel Coward), and her novel is an irresistible frolic.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Publishers Weekly
An attempted putsch at glossy Fashionista magazine is the wickedly entertaining subject of Messina's debut novel. Smart, frustrated Vig Morgan is toiling as an associate editor ("A trend needs three examples to be declared-two might be a coincidence-and I frequently have to dig deep to find the third") under the tyrannical rule of editor-in-chief Jane McNeill. When a charismatic new editorial director, Marguerite, arrives on the scene, Vig and other lowly staffers come up with a bold and unlikely strategy to depose Jane. The plan is to get Fashionista to feature controversial artist Gavin Marshall, who outfits Jesus statues in Chanel and Dior. Readers will be incensed, advertisers alienated and Jane fired, the underlings reason. Vig's duty is to manipulate the misanthropic events editor, Alex Keller, whom no one has ever seen, into putting snapshots from Gavin's gallery opening in the magazine's events section. A visit to Alex's house reveals he is not the "wart-faced troll" Vig imagined, but a handsome young man who allows his Machiavellian secretary to do his job while he secretly goes to architecture school. Vig blackmails Alex; commiserates with her friend Maya over cocktails in swanky hotel bars; watches the catfights between Marguerite and Jane, who turn out to be old enemies (they were up-and-coming co-editors until Jane had the INS deport Marguerite back to Australia); and becomes increasingly smitten with Alex. The clever, single New York-publishing-type protagonist is standard chick lit fare, but Vig is refreshingly free from neurotic body obsessions and boyfriend angst. Messina's prose is witty and assured (she's read her Austen, her Wharton, her Noel Coward), and her novel is an irresistible frolic. (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
ebut by freelance copyeditor Messina, a magazine-world insider (InStyle, Metropoilitan Home, etc.). Fortunately for twentysomething English majors, magazines that worship celebrities and run breathless articles about the things the celebs own actually sell more than a few copies. Toilet stopped up? Unclog like a star! And here's where to get Jennifer Aniston's plunger! Meantime, though, overworked editorial assistant Vig Morgan wishes she could write meaningful, informative articles, but bitchy boss Jane McNeill won't hear of it. Then rumors of an impending palace coup are whispered among the cubicles of Fashionista offices in midtown New York. Could the much-married Marguerite Tourneau Holland Beckett Velazquez Constantine Thomas of Australia, Paris, and London be next in line for Jane's throne? A battle for control ensues, with the Audrey Hepburn look-alike waving her cigarette holder like a symbolic sword as Jane, the scrappy American, fights back. The supporting characters make up a publishing rogues' gallery: Maya, the forlorn, underpaid freelancer; Allison, the dumpy, badly dressed beauty editor; Dot Drexel, perky headline writer, etc. But who is Alex Keller, the mysterious man behind Fashionista's fabulous party page, and why is he always in such a bad mood? Passing herself off as a dog walker and taking Alex's chocolate lab around the block, Vig finally gets the scoop: he's a gorgeous architecture major at Cooper Union who long ago delegated the actual work of writing the column to superefficient Delia. But even that can't rouse Vig from the depths of designer despair. Every month she takes the same three strands of yarn-celebrity, fashion and beauty-and weaves them together.When Alex, one of the great listeners, asks why she still works there, Vig treats him to a 45-minute rant on Jane's vindictiveness, Dot's vapidness, and on the endless whoring after celebrities that has turned her life into hell (a very dull hell). Turns out she's, uh, afraid of change. But a great new assignment with her very own by-line awaits. A few funny lines, but the dispirited tone sinks it fast. Agent: Susan Ramer/Don Congdon Associates
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373090709
  • Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises Ltd
  • Publication date: 8/25/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Read an Excerpt

My First Day of Work

"Vig, what does your roommate look like?"

 

"She's tall and blond and has green eyes."

"Does she have a boyish figure like yours?"

"Uh . . ."

 

"Is she a stick, a lollipop, a drainpipe with no dents?"

 

"Uh . . ."

"We're talking completely flat. Not a curve to be found, even with surveying equipment and six of the Royal Cartographers Association's best men."

 

"Uh . . ."

"Because if she has any shape at all, it won't do. We need flatter than the salt plains of Utah. We'd use you, but company policy prevents us from employing our own employees. I could fire you, but then I'd have to go through the hassle of finding another assistant, which is twenty minutes I just don't have. Listen up, go down to the Ford Agency in Soho and tell them that we need a girl just like you for our story on bridesmaids with awful figures. Stress the fact that we need a model who looks real, like one of our readers but not as dumpy. And tell them we need a large girl, too. But only a plus-size model with a pretty face. Make sure her face is pretty. We are not in the magazine business to give airtime to ugly women. Go on, what are you waiting for? Shoo. Be back in thirty minutes and don't forget to pick up my lunch. I want tuna on toasted rye bread with one lettuce leaf on the bottom. Make sure they put it on the bottom. I can't eat a sandwich with lettuce on the top. Order it from Mangia. Their number is in your Rolodex. All right, stop staring and go do something. This isn't one of those jobs where you stand around the water cooler talking about must-see television. And don't forget my coffee. I like it black."

 

My 1,233rd Day

The offices of Fashionista are like the streets of San Francisco, only with microscent zones instead of microclimates. Every editor in every office is always burning some kind of candle — lilacs, vanilla, cinnamon, multifragranted concoctions called Grandmother's Kitchen — and if you don't like the smell, all you have to do is walk a few feet to the left and breathe different air.

 

But things are different today. Someone is burning incense. Its scent is heavy and powerful and floats down the hallway like a thick-soled phantom, seeping under doorways. Even the bathroom's ordinarily antiseptic aroma is undermined.

 

We aren't prepared to deal with incense. It is the heavy artillery, the big guns, and we have no place to take cover, We are exposed in the center, a shantytown of cubicles, and our only recourse is to breathe the cigarette-infused air outside the revolving door on the ground floor.

 

"It's frankincense and myrrh." says Christine, popping her head over the cubicle wall.

 

"What?" I'm trying to write an article about celebrity-owned restaurants, but I can't concentrate. The smell is too distracting.

 

"The incense. it's frankincense and myrrh," she explains. I'm surprised by her revelation and not quite sure I believe her. This is the twenty-first century, and we have all forgotten what frankincense and myrrh smell like.

 

"Myrrh has a bitter, pungent taste," says Christine.

 

"It's not myrrh '" I say, my eyes focused on my computer screen. "Myrrh doesn't exist anymore."

Christine leans against the wall and it gives slightly under her weight. "Vig, you can't deny the existence of myrrh."

I look at her. "I can. I deny the existence of myrrh."

 

"That's ridiculous. The wise men brought it to baby Jesus as a birthday present."

"So?" I say with a shrug before making some comment about dodo birds. My point is only that dodo birds used to exist and now they don't, but somehow I've managed to suggest that dodo birds were another gift of the magi.

 

Christine's eyes widen as she misunderstands me. "The wise men didn't bring dodo birds to Bethlehem. What a ridiculous thing to imply," she huffs.

 

"How do you know?" I ask, because the vehemence in her tone is too strong. You should never be that sure about anything. "I mean, how do you know for a fact that they didn't also bring dodo birds?"

 

"Because it's not in the bible," she says with more insistence than the topic calls for. I'm only teasing. "There's no mention of dodo birds anywhere."

 

I don't have Christine's religious bent — in fact, I don't have a religion at all — and I'm amused by her vehemence. It's not my intention to upset her. The last thing I want is for her to clutch the thin thumbtack wall with clenched fists, but I don't apologize. It's my belief that myrrh no longer exists and even though I don't believe in much, I have the right to these thin convictions. I have no problem accepting the existence of frankincense, with its ugly f and traffic-stopping k, but not myrrh, something so light and airy that it is only a soft breeze on your lips.

 

"Besides," she says, "I know for a fact that myrrh still exists. We had some in my cooking class."

 

Christine is trying to get out of Fashionista and the route she has taken is aspiring food critic. She harbors dreams of being a food writer. She wants to be one of those people who is paid to detect the impertinent flavor of cumin in a spring roll. She wants to go to James Beard foundation dinners and sit next to Julia Child. She wants to work at a magazine that has a little more substance than seeping incense.

 

Fashionista

Fashionista is a magazine about nothing. It's aggressively hip and overwhelmingly current and every glossy page drips with beauty, but the nuggets of wisdom it dispenses are gold for fools. Despite what they say, you can't steal Gwyneth's arched brow or Nicole's flowing tresses.

 

Copyright © 2003 Lynn Messina

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2010

    Disappointed

    I heard some good reviews on this so I picked it up on a sales rack when I saw it. The plot line is shallow at best and the author skips around from character to character. I might have kept better track of them if I wasn't focusing on keeping my eyes open. I am not one to stop reading a book halfway thru..in fact I've never done it before. However, I reached the halfway point of this book and ***spoiler*** they start focusing on an art show featuring "Jesus in Drag" as a way to get their hated boss fired. I found this offensive and unnecessary to the shaky plot. I'm glad I only payed a few dollars for it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2006

    Title Sold Me!

    I love fashion.....very much...this book to me was horrible and boring....it was like a rejected devil wears prada...(which was absolutley great)....I read it, is going to be a major motion picture...hopefully the movie will be way better than the book in this case.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2003

    Catchy

    This book is well written. I love the dry sarcasm Vig has! If you're interested in fashion writing, its a pretty good book to read and its full of dry sarcasm that will make you love the character but realize you would probably hate the person in real life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2003

    Don't waste your time...

    If you want to read a really funny book, I'd suggest reading 'the Devil Wears Prada'. It is a smartly written book about the fashion magazine world. Fashionistas is simply dull. The chapters all between 2-5 pages long. I wonder if it was meant to be read during bathroom breaks. It is simply tiring to read about silly office politics that don't really make sense and people who are so woefully misguided and dull you wonder how they manage to get through the day without prozac.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2003

    Fun, fun, fun

    If my experience is any indication, it's not easy for a book to make a reader laugh out loud, so imagine my extreme pleasure when I came upon this delighful book that had me laughing out loud again and again. For that alone it's worth the purchase price. Throw in a story that skewers today's celebrity-obsessed society while playing out every overlooked employee's fantasy of taking part in a bloodless coup and you've got yourself a real winner!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2003

    So cute and funny

    I completely understood Vig's feelings about her job, not doing anything of meaning and not being able to go after her big ideas. It was such a funny story about a girl and the risk she decides to take and it just turns her life upside down and I love it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2003

    Lynn Messina: Perfect Photographer

    I read in a self-publishing book once that the cover can sell the book. I guess it's true because I picked this book up because of the jazzy cover. Very chique. Then I flipped through the book and started giggling. By the time I bought the book and got through a couple chapters, I was shaking my head and cracking up. This writer is hilarious in the best way--with that dry wit that you don't realize is an insult when it sounds like a joke. I loved this book and I will definitely buy more! Thanks, Lynn Messina! You would be a perfect photographer because you obviously know how to make someone smile.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2003

    clever and fun!

    FASHIONISTAS is an all around fun read. The plot is clever, the writing is fresh and energetic, and the main character, Vig, is charming and refreshingly free from the usual neuroses that plague characters in similar novels. This one's definitely a cut above.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2003

    a hoot & a half...

    This book is really funny. I mean, laugh out loud funny. The characters are totally likeable. It's the smartest, wittiest book I've read this year. This fiscal year, that is. Can't wait to read her next one.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    amusing insider¿s skewing of the publishing industry

    For five years Vig Morgan has worked on Fashionistas, a magazine devoted to telling readers nothing about celebrity fashion. Vig survived a maniac boss and is now an associate editor in a pool of killer sharks also known as peers. A new Editor in Chief Marguerite with a zillion other names lifted from her ex spouses Holland takes charge. Ruthless Jane McNeil is irate because she felt the job should have been hers. Other associates want Vig to be the point of the revolution because publisher Alex Keller owes her for what she did for his sister. Business life could not prove more meaningful for Vig as her work proves Seinfeld had purpose. FASHIONISTAS is an amusing insider¿s skewing of the publishing industry. The story line is humorous and at times very satirical especially when the heroine provides vigor to the tale. Vig is a delightful character while the support cast will leave the audience shaking their heads. Lynn Messina delightful moves Office Space from a financial realm to the publishing world with the same jabbing shots that will mean the author needs to succeed as a novelist because retreat rights across the bridge seem nuked. Harriet Klausner

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