Wolves in Chic Clothing

Wolves in Chic Clothing

3.7 18
by Carrie Karasyov, Jill Kargman
     
 

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In The Right Address, Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman seared through the upper crust of New York’s glitterati with wicked glee. In their delicious new novel, Wolves in Chic Clothing, they train their merciless spotlight on the young princes and princesses poised to inherit Park Avenue.

Julia, a hip, downtown salesgirl at Pelham’s

Overview

In The Right Address, Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman seared through the upper crust of New York’s glitterati with wicked glee. In their delicious new novel, Wolves in Chic Clothing, they train their merciless spotlight on the young princes and princesses poised to inherit Park Avenue.

Julia, a hip, downtown salesgirl at Pelham’s jewelry store, finds her social life turned on its head when she is asked to deliver a necklace to the store’s young heiress, Lell Pelham, on Lell’s wedding day. Beguiled by Julia’s earnest cluelessness and her vintage-chic vibe, Lell and her gang adopt Julia, and “Eliza Doolittle” her into passing as the heiress to a family fortune, just for a laugh. Dazed by the whirlwind of trust funds, pedigrees, Cosmopolitans, and penthouses in her new world, Julia is unprepared for the ardent advances of Lell’s husband—or the vicious claws her new “friends” develop when they decide Julia is an ingrate, and demote her from society goddess to penniless cling-on with one well-timed editorial. Suddenly, she must return the borrowed couture clothes and try to remember who she was before the body snatching took place. Hilarious and completely addictive, Wolves in Chic Clothing is a modern-day rags-to-riches-and-back-again fairy tale that will leave fans stamping their Manolo Blahniks for more.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Right Address

“It’s impossible to resist the charms of this modern Manhattan fairy tale.” — People

“The right address for fun.” — The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Offers playful insight into a world … as catty as it is rarefied.” — Vogue

“… [Karasyov and Kargman] have fashioned an amusing ride out of the rituals and scandals, the big fake smiles and big real jewels, of the world in which they grew up.”
W Magazine

“A winning novel … If you love society, scandal, and stories about the rich and the richer, look no further.” — Bookreporter.com

“Succinct and snappy dialogue carry Melanie’s voyage through the social circles’ customary verbal skewering, dirt-dishing, and mud-throwing … The drama starts as the rich and famous are caught in acts of plagiarism, adultery, theft, and murder.” — The Deseret Morning News

“Somewhere between Candace Bushnell and Danielle Steel...Getting the latest LV bag is hard.  Scoring a wealthy widower and his Park Avenue penthouse is harder.  The story of Melanie Sartomsky, stewardess turned socialite, who realizes her Upper East Side Barbie Dream House is (sniff) not everything she dreamed it would be.  Add catty, fatty socialites, delinquent but stylish co-eds, and heaps of financial debt.  Mix well and chill.” — Fashion Week Daily

Publishers Weekly
Riding on the designer coattails of their The Right Address, this duo-best friends since first grade-lampoon the elite they know and love/loathe with a story that's as buoyantly vapid as their stock characters. This time, the plot involves the junior jet set: a few preening Manhattan princesses decide to remake a fresh-faced girl in their own airbrushed image, Henry Higgins-style. Julia Pearce, a downtown hipster with vintage-chic style and natural beauty, works as a salesgirl in Pelham's Department Store, where she's caught the eye of the Pelham heiress, Lell. Out of winter ennui, Lell and her gaggle of girlfriends decide to take on this "charity case"-who bemusedly welcomes the attention-bestowing upon Julia a promotion, a fake pedigree and an uptown makeover. As she forsakes burgers for salads, thrift stores for Ralph Lauren and joie de vivre for too-cool cattiness, Julia's ascension from day laborer to Pelham power player affords her the chance to pursue her dream of jewelry design. But it also estranges her from longtime friends, puts off her love interest and attracts the advances of Lell's sleazy new husband, Will-predictably wreaking havoc for everyone. The authors intend to mine humor from tossing Julia to the snarks-er, sharks. But this fish-out-of-water story gasps for air, and even the authors' swipes against society feel familiar and bloodless. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When downtown salesgirl Julia delivers a necklace to bride-to-be heiress Lell, she gets made over-and then dumped-by Lell and her uptown harpy friends. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Countergirl gets fab new job at beloved jewelry store, but beware: the richies have claws. Karasyov and Kargman display a frighteningly accurate, up-close and personal account of Manhattan's bloodless blue-blood upper-crust. The girl they're throwing to the wolves is Julia Pearce, from California but now living the fun twentysomething life in the East Village and working the counter at the Tiffany-like Pelham's. When she's summoned to deliver a priceless necklace to a fashion mag photo-shoot for Lell Pelham, daughter of the store's owner-the powers that be don't trust those evil p.r. lackeys not to leak anything to the gossip pages-Julia catches Lell's eye with her effortless fashion sense and smarts about jewelry. In a device so unlikely and manufactured that the authors almost seem embarrassed to include it, Julia is then made their newest project. Before Julia knows it, she's been bumped upstairs to Creative and is getting invited to all the swank benefit events and weekends in the Hamptons that she could ever have dreamed of. But there's trouble brewing in Lell's circle of private-school friends. First, there's Polly, a heartless wench of a control freak who has laser-sighted vision for people's weaknesses and is convinced that she can make Julia into the season's hottest young thing-a girl's got to keep busy, after all. But Julia soon discovers that newlywed Lell is having an affair right under the nose of Will, her husband, whose anger leads him to try to seduce Julia. On the sidelines is Oscar, a sickeningly wealthy Bill Gates type who sees Julia as so much more authentic than all these other boring swells and who just may be her knight in rumpled chinos. Karasyov and Kargmanlather the pages with the designer goods and trends that keep these ADD socialites going, but don't try to invest any of it with too much importance. An airy souffle that, to its credit, never overreaches. Author tour

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780767921275
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
04/11/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.32(w) x 7.97(h) x 0.64(d)

Read an Excerpt

chapter 1

Manhattan was in a tailspin. Literally. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was in town, and if that didn't clog up midtown's grid of streets enough, it was also Fashion Week. There were bitches everywhere.

The sales floor at Pelham's, the venerable hundred-year-old jewelry store, was packed, and the grand revolving doors were glutted with browsing tourists. Lovers were making last-minute Valentine's Day purchases, and stylists were running in to borrow or return glittering gems for models on the various flashbulb-lined runways of Bryant Park.

A Pelham's trademark little sage-colored box was being nimbly tied with a chocolate brown signature satin ribbon, when the expert fingers were interrupted.

"Julia—we need you." Gisele Beauvoir, Pelham's director of public relations, had unexpectedly materialized, her tone laced with the pulse-pounding gravity of a Defcon One code red alert. "It's an emergency."

Julia's sassy associate (and roommate) Douglas took over the wrapping of an engagement ring for a nervous fiance-to-be. "I got this, honey—don't worry."

Julia shot him a look that was part thank you and part what do you think this could be about? In response, he smiled and shrugged.

"Girl, you look fierce in that skirt," he whispered as she smoothed her pleats to head up to Corporate. "Baby got back in that. And it works."

"Baby got backyard," she sighed, nervously.

"Please. You're the most stylish, knockout girl in this whole damn town."

"Thanks, dude. See you later." She straightened her blouse and went to the staff staircase. What the hell was this all about? Was she about to be fired? Was it because of that man who returned the necklace after she'd convinced him it was perfect for his wife? It wasn't her fault, the guy really liked it, or so he said. It was his wife who said it emphasized the elephant-sized lines on her neck. Or was it because she was unable to understand the Russian tourists? What had she done? She needed this job, dammit. Just as things were starting to come together. . . . Well, what could she do? Julia took a deep breath and continued up the stairs.

On the sixth floor, Julia pushed through the carved mahogany double doors leading into the PR conference room, where seven people were pacing in a state of sheer panic. Fourteen sharp Manolo Blahnik stiletto heels were grinding into the beige Stark carpet. The tension was palpable. Suddenly the room went quiet and the crowd parted to make way for Gisele, who was cradling a small velvet box in her perfectly manicured hands and walking toward Julia.

"Julia—here it is. Move over Queen Lizzie's crown jewels—this is one of the largest gems in the Pelham's archives: an antique seventy-carat diamond and emerald necklace from our Van Braques salon," pronounced Gisele. "You must leave immediately. You'll be accompanied by four armed guards."

"To . . . where?"

"Hello? Lell Pelham's bridal suite! At the Waldorf."

"It's only the wedding of the millennium," chirped another PR lackey.

"Oh. Okay. Should I go now?"

"Yes! We have to rush it over this second!" snapped Gisele. "Vogue's photographer is already there setting up lighting, and Ms. Pelham's assistant just called to say she changed her mind and wants to wear this piece instead of the Schlumstein deco necklace. Naturally we had to have it cleaned to perfection, so we've been in an absolute tizzy. This is very late." Gisele looked Julia straight in the eye. It was clear to Julia that her future with Pelham's—if not more—was riding on her skills as a courier.

The next thing she knew, Julia was being handcuffed to a chrome briefcase—apparently the velvet box had been placed inside. A man who could have been a Mr. Smith clone from The Matrix, complete with black suit and dark sunglasses, escorted her out of the conference room. On their way out, Julia noticed that he had one of those curly ear wires straight out of a Secret Service detail. They exited through a back door on Fifty-eighth Street. A few passing pedestrians gawked and pointed as they entered a limousine, which quickly pulled away.

Julia could only marvel as the limo cruised through the most fashionable part of town. What a mission! She was certainly a long way from the vineyard in Napa Valley where she had grown up and worked since college. Had it really been almost a year since she'd traded the secure familiarity of home for the excitement and opportunities of the Big Apple? But where else could she advance a career in her dream occupation: jewelry design.

At first she didn't think a sales position at Pelham's would be much of a career stepping-stone, but she needed an income and she got the job after one interview. (She was told that she looked the part—"a spitting image of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy," said her human resources interviewer.) And until she found something better, swiping platinum cards and tying up those little sage boxes at least paid the rent on the tiny two-bedroom she shared with Douglas in the East Village.

And now she was on her way to meet the princess of New York high society—Pelham's creative-director-to-be, the head of every junior committee, the party-picture darling who was a celebutante even Julia's pals back home knew about. It was a little weird that her boss's boss's boss's boss was about her age, maybe a couple years older—but Julia knew how the family business game was played. She figured she'd be dining out on the tale of her critical wedding day delivery for weeks to come.

It was only after she stepped out of the limo that she wondered, Why me? There were several other more senior girls who could have been chosen to bring Lell her jewels. And heck, Julia wasn't even in the PR department. Why had they chosen a salesgirl from the engagement ring section for such an important task?

chapter 2

Gene Pelham studied his stunning daughter as the makeup artist caressed the final dollop of blush onto her cherry cheeks. He was as emotional as he'd ever been. Which was not very.

"The bottom line is this, sweetie. 'To whom much has been given, much will be expected.' That's what Rose Kennedy used to say to her kids all the time, and let me tell you, it's good to remember. Teddy used to tell me constantly. God, Teddy and I had some fun times back in the day—you'll see him tonight. The Schlossbergs can't make it, but they want to take you to dinner as soon as you're back from your honeymoon. They were really apologetic. Did I tell you about the time Teddy, Frank Sinatra, and I are were all on the boat in the Riviera? That Angie Dickinson! Yeah, well, I probably shouldn't tell you that, seeing as you're my daughter. And don't believe what you hear about me and Teddy on the Vineyard—"

"Father," Lell said, rolling her eyes, "I've heard these stories a million times. Could you give them a rest? It is my wedding day."

"You're right, you're right, sweetie. Of course. Anyway, what I wanted to say is that now that you're getting married you have a responsibility to properly represent the Pelham family. You're a crucial part of the business, and that's why I made you creative director. Let's face it, the future of the company's going to be up to you, kiddo. Your brothers are useless."

Lell's brother Augustus, twenty-three, was completing his fifth year at the University of Colorado at Boulder, with a major in Women's Studies, aka studying women (up close). His minor was Botany. (Translation: pot smoking.) Twenty-year-old Duke, a sophomore who was keg-standing his way through Lake Forest, had expressed little interest in the family biz. Lell's father had been the same way at their age. Once quite dashing and known as a wild playboy who threw famous parties with celebrities and beautiful people at exotic locales, he had only ever planned on living off of the fruits of the business that his Russian great-grandfather, Eugene Pelham (nee Evgeny Perhelman), had built up from a small counter in the diamond district to a world-famous New York institution. Until fate intervened. His older brother Martin, the heir apparent with a head for business, who was in fact all business, was killed in a plane crash on his way to the opening of a Pelham's in Dubai. Gene had no choice but to settle down and take the reins at Pelham's.

Twenty-eight-year-old Eleanor (Lell) Pelham was the oldest child of Gene and his wife, Emily Wainguard Pelham, a Philadelphia Main Line WASP who was dropped from the Social Register when she married jet-setting Gene. Though her parents nearly had coronaries when their daughter become engaged, she didn't care; Emily was drawn to Gene's blush-inducing, loud, animated stories and his suave confidence. But that was then, in her youth.

Now she had regressed toward a temperament more approaching her mother's icy reserve. While Gene loved the limelight and the glitzy aspects that his job as CEO of Pelham's allowed him, Emily had become his polar opposite. Taciturn, uptight, and disapproving, she refused almost all social engagements, and spent most of her time gardening at their mansion in Washington, Connecticut. The result was that Lell possessed a combination of her mother's aloofness and reserve as well as her father's insatiable appetite for mixing with glamorous folk. It made for an interesting dichotomy.

"Gene, Lell has to get ready," said Emily, entering the dressing room of Lell's suite and shooting Gene an annoyed look.

"I know, I know. We're just having a little father-daughter chat, before I give my baby away to that rascal."

"Dad," said Lell reprovingly.

"Just kidding, just kidding, hon. You know we love Willoughby."

"He's perfect for you," said her mother, then added, "and us." She gave Lell a sideways look as she straightened a small silk bow on the bottom of her daughter's custom-made Carolina Herrera gown.

"He is the best." Lell's feelings for her mother vacillated between hero worship and hatred, but she was consistently elated to have made a match with a suitor that her mother approved of so heartily—and vocally.

"He better be is what I'm saying, 'cause I just moved fifty million into his hedge fund," Gene teased.

"Must we discuss money now?" Emily's tone was full of irritation.

"Well, I want Lell to know about money and these things. Look, you're protected by the pre-nup. I had a serious talk with Willoughby last week and let him know there will be no nonsense. It's iron clad. The money is in your name, and it's a premarital asset. Of course he'll have access to it now. I figured you kids needed more money to get started."

"Thanks, Daddy."

"And I want you to close on an apartment as soon as you get back. Now that you'll be Mrs. Willoughby Banks, you need to live at a serious address. Park Avenue."

"You're preaching to the choir. It's totally claustro. But Dad, can we talk about this later? I need to get ready."

"Certainly, sweetie."

"Gene, why don't you go find Gus and Duke?" said Emily. "Make sure they're dressed and don't let them be late."

"Right-o."

When Lell's father left, the bride stood up to take a look at herself in the mirror. She took a deep breath with a slow, paced exhale. So this was it. She was a striking young woman, five-foot-seven, with long dark hair and crystal blue eyes. Her skin was that creamy color that looks wonderful with a tan, and Lell and her four bridesmaids had just spent a week lying by the pool at her house in Jamaica in order to look perfectly bronzed for the big day. She would have been smashing walking down the aisle in just the ivory slip that she was wearing, or even a burlap sack for that matter. But she'd look spectacular in the gown that a dozen seamstresses had spent hours on. Carolina herself was scheduled to make the final adjustments before Lell sported it down the aisle.

"You will be a beautiful bride, Eleanor."

"Thanks, Mom."

"Willoughby is a catch."

"I know."

The women shared a contented smile before Emily went to check in with the event planners.

Part of Lell's attraction to Will had been her mother's early enthusiasm for the match. While she was more like her father in her status as a social butterfly, she always coveted her mother's approval, since it was so much harder to attain. All of Lell's previous suitors had been greeted with disdain, but her mother had brightened at the mere sight of Will when Lell had him come to a dinner with her parents at Elio's two years ago. At first she loved to rebel by parading her suitors—disheveled artists in dire need of good haircuts or Brooklyn-based musicians with ear piercings—before her horrified mother. It had been great to see her squirm. She'd gone so far as to taunt her mother by mentioning marriage or out-of-wedlock babies and a life in the East Village. But deep down beneath the mother-daughter catfight, Lell wanted her mother to worship her choice. She wanted to choose the kind of man Emily would wish she had chosen instead of her scene-loving husband.

That was Will to a T. When Lell met him on a sunny day in August on a friend's yacht in the Vineyard, she was immediately impressed by the ease with which he carried himself and the way everyone in their crowd gravitated toward him. She had looked with disdain at her current squeeze, a greasy-haired bassist from Williamsburg, whose pasty butt she had dragged kicking and screaming out of the city, and decided that life didn't have to be so difficult. Why should she suffer through moody artistes who would only end up living off of her money? Will was a much better option.

The unanimous word used to describe Will was charming. He was also very socially comfortable; Lell could chuck him in any crowd and he'd swim. That was a relief compared to all the babysitting that so many of her previous beaux had required. And best of all, Will knew at once how to endear himself to Mrs. Pelham, and that was to be the slightest bit snobby and to treat Mr. Pelham with the smallest hint of patronization and derision. Mrs. Pelham thus felt that he was her brethren. The fact that the Banks family was very similar to the Wainguards was just the icing on the cake. Sometimes Lell felt that it was her mother who should be marrying Will. Too bad.

Meet the Author

CARRIE KARASYOV and JILL KARGMAN both grew up on Manhattan's Upper East Side, where Jill now resides with her husband and daughter, while Carrie lives in Santa Monica, California, with her husband and two sons.

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Wolves in Chic Clothing 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you can get past the absolutely ridiculous and cliche dialoge, this is actually a pretty good book. Yes, the plot is as old as they come but for some reason, I still got hooked. It's a great light read, a weekend or beach book when you're just looking for some mindless entertainment. I liken it to a silly movie on Lifetime...yeah, it's dumb and trite but we still watch, no? Give it a chance. These authors tell a great story, but need to show some creativity with dialoge.
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TheBookResort More than 1 year ago
Wolves in Chic Clothing is as delicious as a banana split oozing w/ hot fudge, caramel & butterscotch! Forget Chick Lit, I'm talking juicy Gossip Lit. Yum! Dig in! Set against the glittering backdrop of New York City, Karasyov & Kargman co-author a tale dripping w/ wicked goodness. Welcome to the lush, decadent society sphere that few live but many dream of making it their own. Ahhh, the glitz & glamour of the beautiful people, wrapped in ravishing clothes, dining @ extravagant restaurants, shopping @ posh boutiques & living the moneyed life. *Sigh*. Wolves in Chic Clothing's irresistible Julia goes from ingénue to trendsetting sweetheart unexpectedly. Genteel Lell Pelham, heiress of Pelham's, leader of the highbred hyenas is about to stroll down the aisle. Psst! WHATEVER YOU DO, PLEASE, DO NOT PICTURE PARIS HILTON! Yes, polished Lell has landed the "perfect chap" in Willoughby Banks, a man w/wandering eyeballs, a passion for Lell's assets & the determination to ingratiate himself into the blue blood realm. The rest of the players have interesting stories that Karasyov & Kargman showcase smoothly. Subsequently, Julia realizes that the opulent life of the Big Apple's blooming aristocracy isn't as amazing as it appears. Karasyov & Kargman do such an outstanding job w/ narration, you will find yourself not only yearning to live the life of the well-heeled but living it as you turn each scrumptious page!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoy reading chicklit books, but I have to say, this was pretty disappointing. I felt like the authors forgot who the main character was and that the secondary characters were taking over the story. If they wanted to write about Lell and Polly and Hope, they should get their own story I think. I just felt like I didn't even know Julia that well, the "main character". Didn't really care for the way Julia acted towards Lell's husband either. She should have known that was a mistake waiting to happen. Would have preferred if Oscar had played a bigger role in the story. The only reason I gave this book two stars was because I didn't hate it enough to not finish it at all. I kept hoping it would get better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
a great beach read. buy it today! its great!
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading 'The Devil Wears Prada' last summer, I discovered that while the characters in the book are the antithesis of who I am, it makes for some juicy, can't-put-it-down reading. I purchased this book under the pretenses that it was similar. While it made for an easy read, the plot was flimsy, the characters were over the top, there was no real plot resolution (it was sloppily tied up in the last 10 pages or so), and don't even get me started on the number of spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors. Lines such as ¿`I agree¿, he agreed.¿ would almost fool me into thinking this book was written by a high school freshman. That notion is quickly quashed however when the vocabulary used by the (supposedly) 20-something characters includes ¿rockin robin¿ to describe a piece of jewelry that is cool, or hip. I mean seriously, has anyone used that phrase in the last 20 years? I eventually began to laugh out loud at the absurdity of the writing. An example being the ruggedly handsome Willoughby Banks staring longingly at what was supposed to be (but inevitably wasn¿t) the story¿s heroine, Julia Pearce. Trying to focus on his newspaper, ¿¿the Dow Jones Industrial wasn¿t the only thing that was rising¿¿ I mean COME ON! Normally, I would sum this up to just your average piece of entertainment, trying to piggyback off of the success of other shows, pieces of literature, etc. (i.e. Candace Bushnell and Lauren Weisberger). However I paid $17 for this poorly written copycat, and I would recommend that no one else do the same.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For all those dreams of the how others live, here is an answer you can live with. Not only do the 'ordinary' survive, they can triumph as well. Enjoyable,quick and a good change of pace from more serious fare. If you are not sure what 'chicklit' is or if you care for it, try this one. It is just the right about of glitz, glamour, snobishness and fun.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't know what to expect from this book since I hated The Right Address. But this book was great, very entertaining, and a light, quick read. It had the right mix of plot and designer labels, unlike Right Address which was no plot, just designer labels. I highly recommend Wolves....
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It was easy to get into and I couldn't put it down once I started! It was chock full of tongue-in-cheek humor (such as the 'absurd causes' mentioned by another reviewer -- they were supposed to be silly!) and jokes at the expense of the selfish, spoiled and completely self-absorbed people the book targets in it's title. Anyone who has experienced the 'Mean Girl' phenomenon exhibited by so many women and cliques in today's society will understand the ring of truth behind the fiction. Plus, the ending is quite rewarding! I would definatly reccomend this book for a beach read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a really great, quick read. very funny and entertaining!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was by far PAINFULLY boring!! i am so disappontied..after 167 pages out of 264 I had to put it down..i have never done that..it was completly pointless..i cannot believe it was published!I usually find good in most books but this was so dumb..no point but descriptions of rich clothes and vavatcions and BORING charity functions...(not that i am agaginst charity) but they were ubsurd causes...please don't waste you time or hard earned money on this book..i have piles i wanna read and i wasted so much time on this foolish book. i was skimming it by 120pages b/c it was SO boring.. enough said...people mag picked this as a great summer read..you are better off watching the waves roll in...much more intresting...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Smart. quick and funny. Just the escape from the bleak headlines of the papers and TV. Pure fun with a good and bad side to choose between. The story is crisp,but has been told before. It is just the tonic for a Spring weekend with dreary skies.