The Asylum: A collage of couture reminiscences...and hysteria [NOOK Book]

Overview

After nearly a lifetime spent in the Industry, author and fashion insider Simon Doonan is ready to let you in on a little secret: his peers in this multibillion-dollar industry are just as nutty as the denizens of your local loony bin. In The Asylum, an unabashedly hilarious collection of autobiographical essays, Doonan, the creative ambassador for Barneys New York, tells the real-life stories of glamorous madness and stylish insanity.  

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The Asylum: A collage of couture reminiscences...and hysteria

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Overview

After nearly a lifetime spent in the Industry, author and fashion insider Simon Doonan is ready to let you in on a little secret: his peers in this multibillion-dollar industry are just as nutty as the denizens of your local loony bin. In The Asylum, an unabashedly hilarious collection of autobiographical essays, Doonan, the creative ambassador for Barneys New York, tells the real-life stories of glamorous madness and stylish insanity.  

Doonan has witnessed models unable to work for fear of ghosts, gone deep-sea fishing with a couturier pal and his jailbird companion, and watched Anna Wintour remain perfectly calm while the ceiling fell—literally—in the middle of Fashion Week. Once you start looking, he says, you’ll notice telltale signs of lunacy everywhere. Style insiders see patterns and trends in everything; they suffer from outsize personality disorders and delusions of grandeur; and of course, they have a predilection for theatrical makeup and artfully destroyed clothing. No one is more suited to the asylum than the truly die-hard fashionista—after all, eccentricity and extremism are the foundations of great style.

With his gimlet eye for the absurd and a love for eccentricity, Doonan’s personal and professional stories never fail to entertain. “The David Sedaris of the style universe” (The Boston Globe) gives us the scoop on the kooky, cutthroat—but always fabulous—fashion world, and proves himself one of the sharpest humorists writing today.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Being the Creative Ambassador-at-Large at Barneys might not get you across international borders, but in Simon Doonan's case, it has provided him with a well-deserved perch to contemplate his fellow planet-dwellers. The witty fashion arbiter the Boston Globe called "the David Sedaris of the style universe." As his Slate readers already know, the author of Gay Men Don't Get Fat and Wacky Chicks seldom bites his tongue; whether he's dishing or gushing, he speaks his mind in memorable ways. The Asylum earns a place on the bookshelves of style watchers with a sense of humor.

Kirkus Reviews
2013-08-15
High-fashion hijinks from the outspoken "Creative Ambassador" for Barneys New York. After spending much of his life working with reed-thin models and quick-tempered designers, raconteur Doonan's (Gay Men Don't Get Fat, 2012) skewering of the couture world comes from a place both of witnessing the industry's stylistic evolution and playing a key part within it. If readers are to believe the author's melodramatic musings, fashion designers date hustlers and porn stars, and models are "legendarily cheap," yet each plays an integral part of the fabulous "flock." Spliced between cleverly narrated bits about his window dressing days, "fashion superdeity" Anna Wintour, urine drinking, and his best friend, a psychologist (whose work "in a nuthouse" resembles life in the fashion industry), are colorfully realized profiles of iconic designers like visionary couture doyenne Diana Vreeland, Coco Chanel, Tom Ford and Doonan's Fire Island "beach neighbor" Michael Kors. Some of his earlier recollections nod fondly at Manhattan's pre–Rudy Giuliani halcyon days in the 1980s when he rubbed elbows with "illustrious fashionrati" like Madonna, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs at the Gaiety, a Times Square gay male burlesque theater. Collectively, Doonan's writing here is less biting than previous forays and, to his credit, more concerned with sharing an engaging memory than being snarky. The author often pauses midstream in a digressive retreat from critical (but no less hilarious) commentary on particular people (style show host Elsa Klensch) or places (Japan) to remark on a genuine fondness for them. Though he quips, "you have to admit, my sweeping generalizations are always so much more exciting than facts," these snappy essays find Doonan surprisingly more sincere and charming than ever. A gossipy, voyeuristic and reliably campy romp down the catwalks of the fashion asylum.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101594216
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/3/2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 148,482
  • File size: 620 KB

Meet the Author


Simon Doonan is the creative ambassador for Barneys New York and the author of several books, including Gay Men Don’t Get Fat, Wacky Chicks, and Beautiful People (published in the U.S. as Nasty), which became a BBC TV series. Originally from England, he worked on Savile Row, at Maxfield in Los Angeles, and with Diana Vreeland at The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art before becoming the creative director of Barneys New York, where he designed legendary window displays for more than twenty years. In 2009, he designed the holiday decorations for the Obama’s first White House Christmas. Formerly a columnist for The New York Observer, he is now a contributor to Slate.com, and has appeared on Gossip Girl, Iron Chef America, America’s Next Top Model, and elsewhere. Doonan lives in New York with his husband, Jonathan Adler.
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Read an Excerpt

Author's Note

Ah! Fashion.

A nuthouse? A refuge? Or maybe both. Yes, an asylum in both senses of the word. A place where unemployable crazy people are always welcome.

Every seasoned fashion personage has his or her favorite stories of folly, aberration, derangement, kookiness and excess.

These are mine.

In most instances real names are used. I have tweaked the identities of certain individuals to protect their innocence and cherish their fabulosity.

Have I embroidered or embellished? Let me answer that question by quoting Diana Vreeland: “Exaggeration is my only reality.”

—S. D.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2013

    Emaly

    Omg

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    O.o

    Ewwww that guy smelled like pe<_>e! Keep it up!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    Alayna

    Oh. My. Gosh. This is the best thing ever!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2013

    Diana

    No way! You're awesome to do this with broken fingers!"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2013

    To author

    Wow. Ochie. I understand.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013

    Puppy face

    D":
    Im srry 4 ur loss

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013

    Raylen

    Sucks.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2013

    HIP HIP HOORAY!

    YOU DID IT!""!!!!!!!!

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