A Fashion Icon: Fern Mallis
I wasn’t sure I was going to make this event at Saks Fifth Avenue because I had a meeting right before. Luckily, the meeting didn’t last long and I was actually early to the book signing. Relieved, I soon saw many familiar faces, all of which were asking if I was going to interview. Honestly, I didn’t request an interview. Even when given the opportunity I turned it down. Why? Well, because I couldn’t figure out what to ask her. Fern Mallis is the creator of New York Fashion Week. She is responsible for many careers like Calvin Klein, Tom Ford, and Vera Wang – just to name a few. She served at the Executive Director for the Council of Fashion Designers of America, whose mission is to strengthen the influence and success of American fashion and accessory designers in a global economy. Mallis also served as a global ambassador for IMG, which judged and mentored various fashion events. To say the least, she ultimately made the fashion industry what it is today and has gained numerous awards because of it. Call it intimidation if you will but every question I could think to ask seemed too juvenile. I watched her walk by and acknowledge everyone she passed as she entered the office for interviews. From the beginning she seemed very laid back and approachable. I was pleasantly surprised by her actions. I haven’t heard much about Mallis (she rarely makes the news) but you kind of expect one with such huge accomplishments to bare an understandably huge head. Yet that wasn’t what she displayed at all.
As the book signing began I noticed many of the people waiting in line seemed nervous. My friend Pam, who writes a Over Fifty Feeling Forty, shared with me the questions she had asked during her interview and some of the responses she got. I have to say that Pam did and excellent job. I encourage you to see her interview here.
As our turn with Mallis got closer, I asked Pam to snap a quick photo of me. I then thought that I couldn’t just get a signed book and a photo. How lame would that be? Clearly, others were treating this situation as a once in a lifetime thing and I needed to get with the program. I needed to ask her something, anything. So at the last moment I choose to ask her what I ask every woman I have interviewed. “What advice do you have for women trying to purse their dream – particularly the young generation in fashion.” Again, very relaxed, she asked if I was a designer. I expressed that I was asking for my blog, which I write about fashion, beauty, business, and lifestyle. She turned, looked me in the eyes and replied, “If it’s something you want to do and you are passionate about, just do it, give it time, and be kind.” She finished signing my book and said that blogging is changing the fashion industry. She then encouraged me to keep on blogging. I extended my hand and she gave a pleasant, firm handshake.
Mallis wrote the book Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis because she had come to a crossroads in her life where she decided she wanted to reinvent herself. As she told Pam, a book isn’t what she initially had in mind but it was something she had been encouraged to do. Regardless, she spent three years conducting interviews of many well know American designers. The book is a collection of the interviews. Just flipping through the pages I can already tell it is an amazing book. Plus it will look great on my coffee table. Buy her book here.
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