How Not to Look Like a Copycat.

When I first started writing my "How Not to Look Fat" column in the New York Post in the early autumn of 2004, my editor, Faye Penn, and I picked the name of the column because it's straightforward and kind of funny. When I sold my book to HarperCollins in 2005, we kept the name -- partly because we could do so without copyright problems, since HarperCollins and the New York Post are both owned by News Corporation, but also, because it was really unique as far as book titles go.

In May 2006, when my book was published, it was the only book on Amazon that had the words "How Not to Look..." in the title.

So when Charla Krupp, a former editor at InStyle magazine and currently a contributor at People Stylewatch, who I'd previously encountered in an interview for a story I'd written for the New York Post, titled her 2008 book "How Not to Look Old," I was a little miffed. But whatever, her book is amazing, Charla is a really bright woman, someone I really respected in the industry, someone who I really looked up to and whose career I'd really admired. Her book is gorgeous and it did phenomenally well.

Anyway, I was just on Amazon.com and saw that Charla Krupp has another book coming out in March, 2010. Guess what it's called? "How Not to Look Fat Ever Again."

A quick look at the cover shows that she's printed "How Not to Look Fat" in black and "Ever Again" in white:



Really? Are you serious? I'm kind of thinking this is not cool. I don't even think it's fair. I mean, obviously, we work in the same industry -- and, obviously, she was an editor and is far more senior in the New York fashion/beauty writing business than I am. I've only been working for five years, sure, I get it. The bigger guy always trumps the little guy (steals his lunch money or something).

I know there's no way she's unaware of my book. Before an author picks a book title, and in the proposal process, one of the most important things he/she does and his/her agent has to do is compile a comprehensive list of comparable/competing titles.

I feel like David to her Goliath -- really helpless and not sure if I'm going to get in trouble for speaking up, but I'm seriously confused and dismayed. How can someone do this with clear conscience? I'd be embarrassed to take someone's title like that -- can you imagine if someone tried to publish a how-to-dress book called "What Not to Wear Ever Again" or a makeup book called "Making Faces Forever"? How embarrassing.

Sometimes I forget that there's no honor code in the real world. There's no legal recourse because in the USA you can't trademark titles. It's frustrating when it seems that when someone achieves a modicum of success, it means they can get away with professional disregard for other people. But I'm not calling her unprofessional, because, well, I guess tacking on "Ever Again" to someone else's book title is allowed in publishing.

I guess I'm just calling her a jerk.

And really impolite.

Anyway, I'm proud to have written the FIRST "How Not to Look Fat," even if Charla's book does end up selling more when it comes out in 2010. "How Not to Look Fat" was the first book with the title, my first book. It was a trade paperback, I had the most amazing experience working with editor Kathryn Huck and all the great people at HarperCollins, and I can keep my chin up because I didn't steal my book title from anybody.


From The Geography of Bliss:
"When Ambition is your God, the office is your temple, the employee handbook your holy book. The sacred drink, coffee, is imbibed five times a day. When you worship Ambition, there is no Sabbath, no day of rest. Every day, you rise early and kneel before the God Ambition, facing in the direction of your PC. You pray alone, always alone, even though others may be present. Ambition is a vengeful God. He will smite those who fail to worship faithfully but that is nothing compared to what He has in store for the faithful. They suffer the worst fate of all. For it is only when they are old and tired, entombed in the corner office, that the realization hits like a Biblical thunder clap. The God Ambition is a false God, and always has been."

I think I am this girl.

o.m.g The poster is out!

Via Nick Hornby's blog:

The Ricky's Window Display

I Love It.

I strongly suspect that all the people who are against healthcare reform are people who have never gone a day without health insurance (or crappy, fake health 'insurance') in their lives.


Am I the last to know about La Roux?

Amazing.

I'm at a place called Mad for Chicken.

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Pimientos de Padrón, NY style

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Justine Larbalestier addresses the cover image of Liar

Author Justine Larbalestier addresses the issue of the cover image of her latest book, "Liar," whereupon a white female is pictured when the text indicates that the protagonist is black. She expresses fierce disappointment in the decision of the cover image made by publishing house Bloomsbury -- authors do not get final say over cover images, she says, and the marketing team felt it was far more important to have a sale-able cover image. Larbalestier pointedly writes:
Every year at every publishing house, intentionally and unintentionally, there are white-washed covers. Since I’ve told publishing friends how upset I am with my Liar cover, I have been hearing anecdotes from every single house about how hard it is to push through covers with people of colour on them. Editors have told me that their sales departments say black covers don’t sell. Sales reps have told me that many of their accounts won’t take books with black covers. Booksellers have told me that they can’t give away YAs with black covers. Authors have told me that their books with black covers are frequently not shelved in the same part of the library as other YA—they’re exiled to the Urban Fiction section—and many bookshops simply don’t stock them at all. How welcome is a black teen going to feel in the YA section when all the covers are white? Why would she pick up Liar when it has a cover that so explicitly excludes her?

The Damage, Matsuri

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Matsuri

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If they rescind my citizenship today, I'll call you from Heathrow.

Click through for full story...

Vladimir Nabokov on 'Lolita'

"I have invented, in America, my America," he says.


One of the funniest/wisest things I've ever read

10 Worst Evolutionary Designs from Wired.com. Like:
"6 Shark-fetus teeth. A few shark species have live births (instead of laying eggs). The Jaws juniors grow teeth in the womb. The first sibling or two to mature sometimes eat their siblings in utero. Mmm ... siblings."

Here I am: Barefoot Contessa party

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From today's Post

My favorite photo from the shoot I styled at Allen & Delancey with photographer Elizabeth Lippman -- from today's Sunday paper.

I love 'Mermaids'



"If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
Go for my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you" - Jimmy Soul

I shouldn't be allowed out on weekends

... because I spend too much money. First stop today, the Verizon Wireless store. This morning I got it in my head that if I get a Mifi, I can tell my home cable/internet company to shove it. I use RCN at home, they are awful, I get overbilled all the time, it takes upwards of 45 minutes to get a customer service representative on the phone and when you get someone on the phone, boy are they some of the least helpful people in the world. Yes, in the world, I'm not even being facetious. I've worked with people who I do not speak the language of who are more helpful than these RCN customer service operators. RCN is a joke. Sadly all the Verizon stores in New York are out of mifi stock, so I placed my order for one and it'll arrive on Tuesday, whereupon I'll have 30 days to try it. I'm super-excited to have a wifi bubble everywhere I go! Will let you know how it works.

Then, as part of my effort to conform (okay, not really), I've decided to get some khaki/chino (I don't know the difference) shorts. So I went to The Gap. I don't understand The Gap. For decades they built their reputation on doing really solid, inexpensive, reliable basics (like khakis and shorts and T-shirts and button-downs). It was all going pretty well and all of a sudden they decide to become more fashionable -- of course, that's when it all went downhill. 40% dip in profits, blah blah blah, years ago. So, their solution? Instead of scaling back and doing what they do best (and what their customer expects (and probably wants) when they walk in the store, they go even more fashionable (but not really) -- by hiring a new creative director, doing collaborations with up and comers, etc. Hey guys, news flash, it's not working. Peasant skirts and wannabe-LA jersey dresses, ruching, who do you think you are? Anthropologie-lite? Today at The Gap, there was one pair of women's khaki shorts in the entire store, only in size 2 and 4. Everything else there I could have gotten a cheaper, cooler, better version of in any of the other masstige stores -- H&M, Forever 21, Club Monaco, Anthropologie. I think Gap should stick to what they do best and quit this self-imposed identity crisis they've gotten embroiled in over the last 10-ish years.

So I wandered over to J. Crew -- everything in that store is on sale + 20 percent off. And I got some khaki shorts. I haven't owned khaki shorts since I was 13. This will be an adventure.

C gave me a super-cute Brother Jimmy's T-shirt!

With a cute little pink pig on it.
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I can't wait to see this movie

An Education



All the idealism of a schoolgirl.

Frank Bruni on self-image

"I wasn't nearly as fat in reality as I was in my mind. And I think that's a big part of the challenge when you have a strange relationship with food -- when you've been an over-eater and a dieter -- is ever figuring out what you really look like."

I want this

Common sense for men

From "How to Succeed with Women" via Jezebel.com:

The thing about my second book is...

... that, just as I suspected, I haven't been able to write it because I have no imagination. I did this personality test (below), which definitively proves I have no imagination. So now what?

Behind the scenes today

Look for the shoot in this Sunday's New York Post.

My Blackberry ate itself

Today I was out of the office shooting all day and my Blackberry ate itself. Let me explain: it overheated, the battery went from full to empty in one hour, and then it shut off. It's been dead since just before 2 p.m. I knew something was fishy this morning when my Blackberry alarm didn't go off -- thank goodness for my jerk downstairs neighbor's yappy trio of dogs that start barking uncontrollably beginning at 7:45 a.m. every morning, otherwise I wouldn't have woken up. What's up Blackberry. Why have you forsaken me.

Here I am, Tribeca

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Tonight LVMH Museum of Natural History

I'm procrastinating writing my Penn Badgley story. Here are some photos from tonight's party. I have a headache after half a glass of champagne. I'm useless in my old age.





Here I am, LVMH party at Museum of Natural History

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No more excuses.

Now I guess I can no longer blame my corpulence on "dad's side of the family." Sigh.

Vibram FiveFingers

I kind of want these.



I'm having a moment, no, a season (or maybe a year!) with unattractive-but-comfortable mainstream footwear. UGGs were, obviously, the gateway drug here, but when I was in Barcelona, I walked around everywhere in FitFlops (I have the black suede matte kind with the black sole). Now I'm thinking about buying the shiny sporty FitFlops, even though I never wear them when I'm home in New York. Maybe it's time to expand my unattractive footwear repertoire to include these odd looking FiveFingers. I mean, they're not all that far off from the Nike ninja shoes or Margiela Tabis, right? Don't worry, I haven't been tempted to buy Crocs yet...

iJustine is hilarious

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Whoa, okay MTV

Guess what works? Yeah, your show "16 and Pregnant." I've been watching the marathon on MTV tonight and pretty much this show makes me never want to have kids. Never mind that I'm not really the demographic, I mean, I'm almost 32. Maybe it was the show's Ceasarian photos that did it. Maybe it's the howling, vomiting babies, the hapless young moms, the pervasive ominous fear that hangs over the entire hour the show's on. Wow. Good work, this is the best birth control ever.

Just in from mediabistro.com:
"Comedy Central signs up Gary Sanchez Productions, the production company of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, to create a sitcom starring Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder as a computer IT specialist. Ferrell, McKay, and Chris Henchy will pen the show, scheduled to air in 2010.
I wonder if it will be anything like that hilarious British TV show "The IT Crowd."

Today's Haute List

Click through to see the full spread.

Praise the Lowered


Dump your platform stiletto six-inch heels for this summer's lower options... click through to read the whole story.

Heartbreaking

The whole thing is heartbreaking.

And, how cute is Blanket?


original-1

The new Dubai

“It’s not about working hard. It’s about feeling sick and waiting for the idea and not knowing what to do but making sure you have the skills so that when you do get the idea, you can do it without relying on other people.” - Louise Wilson

Louise Wilson on mediocrity

I love Louise. There's a great interview with her on Cathy Horyn's blog today:
"Did the industry plan that everyone would travel to the same countries, that everyone would have disposable means of income, that everybody would be quite bland? I recently interviewed someone coming to the MA program and they said the last film they had seen was “Valkyrie,” with Tom Cruise. I said, “You’re joking, aren’t you?” I said, “Did you go to the cinema?” And they said yes. And I said, “Well, I could understand watching it on an airline flight. But it’s not the thing you would say. You would lie.”
There are immensely talented people around but I feel huge vortexes of them are sucked into this mediocre world where nobody criticizes and it’s all terribly politically correct. Even journalists are the same. You now hardly get a bad a review. In their mind the journalists are supporting the industry, so they don’t want to dish it. For me it’s that banality of what is youth. Even the way they put themselves together. Again, today, I was interviewing people for the MA program, and I said, “Why are you dressed like Topman?” Maybe it is a Miu Miu shirt, but essentially it’s Topman. It’s got no individuality at all. You’ve not stretched the neck of the T-shirt. You’ve not denoted your uniform. You’re not even wearing non-fashion. You’re not even saying that. You’re saying nothing."

Through the Looking Glass

"The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head -
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed."

Michel Gondry on his Brooklyn neighborhood

From New York Magazine:
One problem with the neighborhood is that all the hipsters are very selective on their coffee. They all cluster in this tiny, trendy coffee shop, and then the other shops go out of business. So I think on one hand, the hipster should be a little bit more tolerant of his coffee, because he’s missing out on great places, and great mixture of culture. On the other hand, maybe some of the diners should buy an espresso machine.

Dolly Parton: The House of the Rising Sun

Lately, I've been obsessed with Dolly's version of this song like words cannot even describe. And the video, the people in the video!

Suzy Menkes on writing from pictures

From her interview with Tim Jackson in the University of the Arts London Alumni Magazine:
"One thing I find dispiriting is that I can always tell whether someone is writing from pictures. However experienced you are and however sharp your eye, you simply cannot take in more than four things at once -- the silhouette, the colour, the shoes, the jewellery. Once you go beyond that, the truth is, people are just copying things off the screen. For a start, you never see the back of an outfit in pictures and in some cases, say for Haider Ackermann and design duo Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi, the back is absolutely their fetish, so you're not getting the right story. I myself am incapable of judging when it's simply online -- you don't see the fabrics and these days the fabrics are so important. The other things that I feel incredibly strongly about is that now all these bloggers think that they have an absolute ability to judge a show."

Blackberry photos

I'll never be a professional photographer, but I loooove taking photos with my Blackberry. And while procrastinating, backing up my hard drive this weekend, I realized I have hundreds and hundreds of Blackberry pics stored in my computer. So I put some of my favorites together in an online photo album...click through to view.

If I sell four of my Eames dining chairs...

Then I will be able to afford one of this chair...

Jamie Dornan

During Milan men's fashion week I spent a day (and by day, I mean day, 9 a.m. to midnight) with Calvin Klein's new underwear face-body Jamie Dornan. He's a charmer, now we're best friends. No, I'm kidding. But seriously, it was more than interesting spending a full day with a working model who wasn't doing fashion shows -- even working in the industry, I've never been totally clear on how being the "face of" something could possibly be hard work, but truly it's grueling. Jamie starts his days at the crack of dawn and every single minute of his life is scheduled until the car picks him up from the Calvin Klein cocktail party in the wee hours of the morning. It's non-stop interviews, presentations, outfit changes, makeup, being poked and prodded by strangers, etc. all day long. Modeling isn't as easy at it looks...

The Big Pink's "Velvet"



This weekend I was sifting through my notes from Milan men's fashion week and I found a few lyrics I'd scribbled down from The Big Pink's "Velvet," which was on the soundtrack from the Calvin Klein show. Love it, love the look.

Google Voice vanity numbers



In light of the new development that Google Voice now lets you change your number (for $10), I wanted to check out if there were any good ones left... unfortunately, in the New York area, it's tough, since most numbers are already taken, but...

Los Angeles still has TOENAIL


California also has two URINATE options


In Texas, ILUVHAM is still available


And ULOVEME in New Jersey


Texas also has CLOTHES


Nevada's got ADVERBS


And West Palm Beach has got an AIRHEAD... um.

Karl Lagerfeld voices the character Fubu in animated film "Totally Spies"

Sifting through my Barcelona pictures

Today's Haute List

"Observe Everything. Always think for yourself. Never let other people make important decisions for you." — from Bad News by Edward St. Aubyn