|Finding Myself in Fashion / Jeanne Beker
TO: Penguin, c2011
Canadian readers will recognize this author immediately! Jeanne Beker is an icon in the Canadian fashion scene, as the long-time host of FashionTelevision among many other roles.
This memoir from a decade ago covers 40 years of her work in the tv world -- and this is an interesting mix, because it's about fashion but really more about fashion from the perspective of a journalist than someone on the inside of design house. It sheds another light on this world.
Jeanne was always energetic and ambitious, and she chronicles her youthful character and escapades that led to her work in theatre (she's a trained mime!), radio, and then eventually tv. She moved into fashion journalism after working in the music field at MTV for a while, and that gritty energy helped her make FashionTelevision into a more interesting show than a simple model host might have. Plus she had all sorts of interesting connections from her earlier work to bring into their show.
I really enjoyed reading about the work angle of this book -- it was fascinating to see her career trajectory, and how she also lost her job due to ageism -- still happening in the tv world for sure! But she found other fashion focused work to move to. She shared stories of meeting fashion greats like Karl Lagerfeld or Alexander McQueen, and shared how her down-to-earth persistence got her access and built relationships. The story of how she was sent to interview Karl early on, while hugely pregnant, was quite entertaining -- and she got an original Chanel out of it!
The book also talks a lot about her personal romantic relationships, from the breakdown of her marriage to the many dates and relationships she had after that. I wasn't as interested in this element of the book at all, but these stories do round out the picture of her life and how her work affected all parts of it.
If you want a look at the fashion world from another angle, and you also fondly remember watching FT and Jeanne Beker, this might interest you too.