Fern Mallis Readies to Release Second ‘Fashion Icons’ Book

FULLY BOOKED: Five years after publishing the first book that highlights some of her standout “Fashion Icons” interviews at 92Y, Fern Mallis will be rolling out a second volume in May.

After the success of the first, which included four reprints and distribution in Japan, Mallis decided on a second round and the pandemic provided the time for research. “Fashion Icons 2: Fashion Lives With Fern Mallis” is being published by Rizzoli and sponsored by Nordstrom.

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A boxed set of the first and second books will be offered exclusively at Nordstrom for the debut. The first edition has been updated to add more information about what Mallis’ subjects have been up to since it was released. The second book will also be available through other distribution channels.

Mallis’ first tome showcased 19 fashion insiders, among them Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Vera Wang, André Leon Talley, Bruce Weber, Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg and Norma Kamali. The second installment features 15 subjects including Valentino Garavani, Victoria Beckham, Christian Siriano, Billy Porter, Iris Apfel, Arthur Elgort, Bethann Hardison and Rosita Missoni. The $125 boxed set edition of the two books will feature sketches by Los Angeles-based illustrator Ruben Baghdasaryan.

As for some of Mallis’ favorite interview moments, she singled out the “charming, smiling” Beckham, as well as Leonard Lauder for his long-standing support of women in business especially within his company. Garavani was another favorite, said Mallis, who recalled him saying: “‘I think I tell you more than I tell anybody. I guess I would tell you what kind of underwear I’m wearing.’ We all laughed and I said, ‘Yes, please tell me.’”

The Fashion Icons creator also remembered how Bob Mackie received the longest standing ovation just by walking onto the stage after Mallis’ introduction of him. Asked about the secret to a good interview, Mallis said, “Dare I say me? The secret is doing the homework, having the research to know what they’re about and having a warmth and relationship. They’re always very comfortable on the stage with me. I’m not the SEC diving into their company finances. I’m not the Wall Street Journal. I approach it as two friends.”

With designers the focus isn’t on comparing collections, it’s about who they are as people, Mallis said. “Where did they grow up? Tell me about your siblings. What was your bedroom like? It breaks the ice and all of a sudden they are talking from the heart,” adding that no one has refused to answer any questions aside from one or two who drew the line on their age.

With the second book done-and-dusted, Mallis will be returning to the Upper East Side Y next month for an in-person talk with beauty maven Bobbi Brown on March 30. The following week Every Mother Counts founder Christy Turlington Burns will take to the stage there for a Q&A on April 7. And Tory Burch will share her success story with Mallis on May 18 at 92Y. A sketch of Burch can be found on Baghdasaryan’s Instagram.

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