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.

February 4 2018

Orphaned Estate and Book Seek New Patrons


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


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


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


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

Patti cover

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

At The Grill

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


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

Focus PPB

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

Post item 11-15

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?

Focus PPB

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


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

Focus PPB

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.


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


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

Focus PPB

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


“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

August 25 2017

House of Outrageous Fortune a “scathing tell-all”


In reporting the news that Fifteen Central Park West, opened in 2008, remains the city’s most expensive residential building nine years later, arriviste claims for Billionaire’s Row on Fifty-seventh Street notwithstanding, the real estate blog 6sqft also name-checks the “scathing tell-all” House of Outrageous Fortune. That’s my 2014 New York Times bestseller about the building, its residents and developers, and how it came to claim and keep that distinction. Scathing, which means caustic, bitter denunciation, isn’t the word I’d choose, but I’m glad I got a (high-)rise out of them. Continue reading

August 11 2017

Diana and the Jackals


I wrote about Diana, Princess of Wales, and her relationship with the media, twenty years ago in New York Magazine in the days immediately following her untimely death. The piece, which remains fearfully relevant today, opens at an A-List end-of-summer party at the home of David and Julia Koch in Southampton that came to a sudden end as the news of Diana’s death spread through the crowd. Click each image to read the story.

Continue reading

August 7 2017

Focus is in paperback August 29th

Focus PPB

Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers, returns in trade paperback with a new, hot pink jacket on August 29th.

Reviewers and readers raved:

Focus is “smart, well researched and written with an insider’s eye… engaging and on point….canny,” (Kim France, New York Times Book Review), “delicious, sweeping, thoughtful,” (The Daily Beast), “thoroughly absorbing…enthralling and riveting,” (Tim Gunn, Project Runway), “amazing… big, intelligent, exhaustively researched, lovingly written,” (Liz Smith, Chicago Tribune Syndicate), “deep-diving …groundbreaking,” (DuJour), “sizzling…relentless,” (Hamptons Magazine), “juicy. . . fascinating,” (Booklist),…

Continue reading

August 2 2017

La Serenissima Under Seige


Two weeks ago, AVENUE published my #DETOURISM guide to avoiding the modern perils of Venice. Continue reading