About Michael Gross

Michael Gross, one of America's most provocative non-fiction writers, is the author of the New York Times bestsellers House of Outrageous Fortune, 740 Park and Model, as well as Rogues' Gallery and My Generation. His latest book is Focus, The Sexy, Secret, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers. He is Editor-in-Chief of Avenue, a Contributing Editor of Departures and his journalism has appeared in The New York TimesNew YorkVanity Fair, Esquire, GQ and many other publications.

July 19 2018

Genuine Authentic Returns

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Today, the Daily Mail Online revealed that Genuine Authentic: The Real Life of Ralph Lauren, my “sizzling” 2003 unauthorized biography of the American fashion legend, is being re-released on July 24 as both a re-packaged paperback and a first-ever e-book by William Morrow Paperbacks.

It’s the same book that a New York Times reviewer called “sharp-clawed [yet...] honestly admiring,” but it’s been updated with a new Afterword.  In the original, “Gross summed up Lauren by saying that the things which made him a success like obsessiveness and control were ‘negative when viewed on the human level,’” the Mail reports.  “In the new afterword Gross strikes a more conciliatory tone and says … that while others in the fashion… Continue reading

May 15 2018

740 Park a “genre-buster,” says Architectural Digest

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Writing on architect Rosario Candela in Architectural Digest, David Netto calls 740 Park “riveting social history…a biography of an apartment building.” Continue reading

May 5 2018

740 Park Grows on the New York Times

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The most notable residence in the most notable apartment house on the Upper East Side, 740 Park, has lately been much in the news. A few weeks back, the New York Times’ T Magazine referred to the former residence there of Saul and Gayfryd Steinberg, Apartment 15-16B.  In tomorrow’s Styles of the Times, in a profile of its current occupants, Steve and Christine Schwarzman, the apartment also figures prominently.

Though it’s really unnecessary, both articles inflate the apartment’s many virtues.  T called it a triplex.  The writer of the Styles profile referred to it as a “17,000-square-foot, three-floor penthouse.” In fact, while fabulously grand, it is none of those things, as Times editors partly acknowledged when they… Continue reading

April 28 2018

“Quality will win out”

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Walt Disney said that, and yesterday’s real estate news shows it’s still true. On both the east and west coasts, trophy properties with remarkable histories have gone on the market and attracted attention for their inherent quality–as well as their sky-high asking prices.

In Bel Air, California, Variety’s brilliant Realestalker Mark David reports, soap opera mogul Bill Bell and his wife Maria, an arts philanthropist have listed a mansion prominently featured in my book on West Los Angeles, Unreal Estate (which is currently out of print). Designed by Wallace Neff for film producer and studio mogul Sol Wurtzel, it was later home to a celebrity psychic and astrologer-to-the-stars and is said to have been sublet to to… Continue reading

February 4 2018

Orphaned Estate and Book Seek New Patrons

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Unreal Estate, my 2011 romp through the luxury property market in the West Los Angeles neighborhoods of Bel Air, Holmby Hills and Beverly Hills, has been out of print for several years but still attracts attention. The same is true of the great estates it covers, like 141 South Carolwood Drive, former home of Tony Curtis, Cher, and movie mogul Joe Schenck, who famously bedded Marilyn Monroe there. It’s now on the market for $180 million, and has renewed interest in the book, too. A local bestseller at the time, it needs TLC (not to mention a committed publisher). But it won’t cost anything like that lofty asking price! Continue reading

January 28 2018

A Warming Trend is Forecast

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The February Palm Beach issue of AVENUE “drops” this weekend and its four features, including our definitive Palm Beach A-List are already available online. If you’re somewhere warm, it will reflect your good fortune. If you’re in New York, it might transport you somewhere warm. I’m particularly proud of “Tattoo Me,” an essay by Nina Griscom about losing her ink virginity, which introduces her as one of the magazine’s two new Contributing Editors. The other is Anthony Haden-Guest, who will contribute a weekly cartoon to the web site beginning on Tuesday January 30. That’s 8-goal polo player Nic Roldan on the cover, photographed by Nick Mele. Continue reading

January 19 2018

Bradford Dillman, widower of supermodel Suzy Parker, RIP

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Actor Bradford Dillman has died, says The Hollywood Reporter. Dillman was the long-time husband of the late supermodel Suzy Parker, a central character in both Focus and Model, along with her older sister and fellow model Dorien Leigh. Parker became Richard Avedon’s muse and unofficial studio manager during his heyday as a fashion photographer in the Fifties and Sixties, even assisting when he photographed America’s Mercury astronauts (in the photo, which is from my collection). While she continued to work with Avedon after meeting Dillman on a movie set, Parker eventually settled into life as a wife and mother in Montecito, California, where I interviewed her for those books, and Dillman lived and died. Continue reading

Correction: We’ll always have the West Village

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A keen-eyed reader writes: “On page 61 [of Focus] you wrote [of the film Funny Face, based on Richard Avedon and his brief first marriage]: ‘Audrey Hepburn plays Jo Stockton, a bohemian bookstore clerk who [Dick] Avery [the Avedon-like figure played by Fred Astaire] ‘discovers’ in the background of a Parisian photo shoot….’ The photo shoot … takes place in a bookstore in the West Village,” where Avery finds her. The error will be corrected in future printings. Continue reading

January 2 2018

AVENUE needs your vote

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Please visit this Facebook page and vote (by hitting LIKE) for AVENUE’s July 2017 cover of Patti Hansen at Studio 54 by Anton Perich as the ASME magazine cover of the year. Every vote counts and I’m counting on yours! Continue reading

December 24 2017

Dinner and A Show

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Departures Magazine has unlocked my recent story about dining at The Grill in the Seagram Building, the much-touted restaurant that replaced The Grill Room of The Four Seasons in that location earlier this year. The new restaurant was created at the behest of developer Aby Rosen, the New York character I’d previously profiled in “The Rise, Fall and Rose of Aby Rosen” in Centurion, the Departures offshoot for American Express Black Card holders. Meantime, the restaurateurs behind The Four Seasons, Julian Niccolini and Alex von Bidder, say they expect to re-open in their new location at 280 Park Avenue in the spring. Continue reading

December 14 2017

The Rise of the Superspawn

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In today’s New York Times, lead fashion critic Vanessa Friedman writes an (overdue) obituary for the overused term supermodel, name-checking MODEL: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women along the way, and coining the term superspawn (which I may have inspired) for fresh-faced second-generation models like the lovely Kaia Gerber. It and its companion book, last year’s FOCUS: The Sexy, Secret, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers, would made a super gift for a fashion lover’s holiday. Continue reading

December 2 2017

Boyce v. Weber: Read it here

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Today’s Page Six revealed that photographer Bruce Weber, a major character in FOCUS, is the latest figure in fashion accused of sexual harassment. You can read the complaint filed against Weber in NYS Supreme Court male model Jason Boyce’s lawsuit by clicking here. Continue reading

November 17 2017

Focus Bought For Long-Form Docu

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Richard Johnson reports in the New York Post, that Keshet, the originator of the wildly successful series Homeland, has optioned Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers for a long-form documentary television series. Continue reading

November 14 2017

Avedon Exposed! Again?

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A new biography of the late photographer Richard Avedon, out next week, “is being described,” Page Six reports today as “expos[ing] the twice-married Avedon’s hidden love life.” But the New York Post report goes on: “He was outed as bisexual in another tome, ‘Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers,’ last year,” the gossip column correctly reports. The Daily Mail adds more detail. You can buy Focus here. Continue reading

October 25 2017

Focus: The truth about Terry Richardson

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Sixteen months ago,the New York Post took readers “Inside the twisted, sexed-up childhood of Terry Richardson” in an exclusive first look inside the pages of Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers. It tells some of the story of Terry Richardson‘s late dad, Bob, and one of fashion photography’s greatest and most messed-up practitioners. Mail Online picked up the Post story and added even more of the sometimes sordid details from Focus. Yesterday, it was revealed that In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Condé Nast had banned the Hearst-contract photographer, apparently grabbing the caboose of the #metoo train. FOCUS wasn’t the first revelation of Richardson’s reign of terror, but… Continue reading

October 17 2017

WWD on sexual harassment of models

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WWD notes today that long before the current Harvey Weinstein headlines, both MODEL and FOCUS addressed the subject of sexual exploitation in the field of fashion photography.   Continue reading

October 1 2017

RIP S.I. Newhouse, Jr.

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The rarely interviewed Si Newhouse, who died at age 89 after a long long illness early this morning, “hardly followed the pattern of the self-promoting modern tycoon, and seldom gave interviews to the press,” David Remnick writes in his appreciation of his former boss. I was lucky enough to interview Newhouse several times. The most extensive conversation took place at the height of his influence, for a New York Magazine story called “War of the Poses” (click the title to see a pdf) about the decades-long rivalry between Newhouse’s Conde Nast and the Hearst family’s Hearst Magazines. Continue reading

September 17 2017

Join me tomorrow at The Writing Center at Hunter College

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Tomorrow night, September 19th, I’m giving the Jack Burstyn Memorial Lecture in the Fall 2017 Guest Speaker series at The Writing Center at Hunter College, and will be talking about my peculiar career and surviving as a writer in a post-print age. The event is free and open to the public. It begins at 7PM at Hunter West’s 3rd Floor Glass Cafe (68th and Lexington). Click here for RSVP information. Continue reading

September 14 2017

Some Hocus-Focus on WCBS-FM

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Here’s Deb Gordon’s interview with me about Focus, which aired September 7th, just after the book was released in a new paperback edition. Continue reading

September 8 2017

Models: Seen, but sometimes also heard

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“For decades, modeling was a silent profession, where women were supposed to be seen and never heard.”
–From yesterday’s Thursday Styles cover story in the New York Times

“There are few accidental literary forms as rewarding as quotations from models. Mr. Gross provides them in an amount that is truly mindless and highly enjoyable, and perhaps unprecedented.”
–From “Fashion Victims,” a review of Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, in The New York Times Book Review, April 30, 1995 Continue reading