Archive for March, 2016

Focus: “Exposing photographers,” says New York Post’s Richard Johnson

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In today’s New York Post, gossip King Richard Johnson reveals a tid-bit from the opening pages of Focus, telling how King of the Selfies, photographer Terry Richardson, was dissed by the often naked pop princess Miley Cyrus. “The book, exposing photographers from Richard Avedon to Richardson, is out July 5th,” Johnson writes.

Calvin Klein comes clean?

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Word comes via WWD that retired designer Calvin Klein is “writing” a book, though he adds, “I’m not big on looking back.” For those who would like to look back, Calvin Klein’s masterful advertising is discussed in depth in Focus, out July 5th. Meantime, here is my controversial profile of the designer from 1988 that caused him to pull his advertising from New York magazine for five years.

How Safe is Your Hotel in the Age of Daesh Terror?

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The latest issue of Departures presciently addresses terror and travel in a special section. It’s a subject that seems all the more urgent after this week’s Brussels attacks. My story on the latest in hotel safety is here. The illo is by Owen Freeman.

Focus is “equally delicious and deeply informative,” says Sheila Weller

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“Michael Gross‘s FOCUS is that rare thing: an equally delicious and deeply informative book, a news-breaking romp through the world of fashion photography, from its beginnings early in the last century to the recent controversial exploits of super bad boy Terry Richardson,” says Sheila Weller, the bestselling author of GIRLS LIKE US and THE NEWS SORORITY. “Richard Avedon, Bert Stern, Deborah Turbeville, Helmut Newton, Steven Meisel: these and so many others whose work I’ve enjoyed in VOGUE and BAZAAR are given context and smart analysis, and magazine editors and owners appear, too, revealing an industry of art and commerce. An … Continue reading

Focus is “Fabulous…amazing,” says columnist Liz Smith.

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Liz Smith devotes her entire column to an advance peek at Focus today. “It is a phantasmagoria of gossip, history, fabulous times, terrible times; the men (and a couple of women) who turned their creative lenses onto runways, clothes, models and (as in the case of Richard Avedon) onto America itself,” the columnist writes. “If you love fashion and/or the art of photography, this book is for you. But even if you couldn’t care less about the skirts swirled or the fabric bunched, or how Bert Stern or Irving Penn or David Bailey or Bruce Weber or Corinne Day or … Continue reading

Weekend Dose of Donald: How the Angry Populist feathered a nest of Happy Plutocrats

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In which I return to the Daily Beast to tell the tale of how Republican front-runner Donald J. Trump invented the Billionaire’s Belt, or as the Beast puts it, “New York City’s crass luxury hell.” A strange-but-true story based on the book House of Outrageous Fortune.

Nino Cerruti lauds Focus

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Nino Cerruti, the renowned Italian fashion designer and red carpet favorite of Hollywood’s elite, is the latest early reader of Focus: The Sexy, Secret, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers. “Focus is the ‘House of Cards’ of fashion,” Cerruti says.

Tim Gunn on Focus: “Enthralling”

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Project Runway star and former Parsons School of Design chairman Tim Gunn says, “I thought I knew practically everything about the fashion industry, but Michael Gross has corrected me. His thoroughly absorbing narrative dazzles with the most profound investigation and research. Focus is an enthralling and riveting read!”

Daily Dose of Donald: This is Populism?

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In June 1990, for his forty-forth birthday, Donald J. Trump missed a deadline for a $42 million payment on the bonds that financed one of his Atlantic City, NJ, casinos, Trump Castle, and a $30 million payment on a personally guaranteed loan, and Moody’s Investor Services downgraded the ratings of bonds for the Taj and Trump Plaza casinos. “The 1990s sure aren’t anything like the 1980s,” he reportedly said. He’d just returned from promoting his second book, Trump: Surviving at the Top, when the Wall Street Journal revealed that he’d begun negotiations a month earlier to restructure his debt. In … Continue reading

Daily Dose of Donald: Marriage=Boredom

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“I went from one marriage to another, which was a mistake,” Donald J. Trump says in a 1999 interview first reported in My Generation, at last available as an e-book. “Marla [Maples Trump] is a good girl, and I had a good marriage with her, but it’s just that I get fuckin’ bored. One of those little things. Work to me is going on a vacation and sitting around going nuts, because there’s no telephone. So I’m still young enough, and I want to have a good time for a while. I deserve it.”

Daily Dose of Donald: With friends like these…

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In 1973, when the government charged the Trumps with racial discrimination at their rental properties, Donald Trump hired Roy Cohn, the notorious, politically-wired former counsel for Joseph McCarthy’s red-baiting Senate investigations subcommittee, as his new lawyer. (He eventually signed a consent decree in that case, but kept Cohn on regardless.) And he hired Louise Sunshine, a fundraiser for New York’s Governor Hugh L. Carey, as his political lobbyist. Read more about the anti-politician Trump’s political pals in My Generation, now in e-book for the first time.

Daily Dose of Donald: Seduction, Trump Style

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As a young man eager to make his mark in Manhattan, Republican front-runner Donald J. Trump wore maroon suits and matching shoes—-a sure sign of an outer-borough boy. His developer father’s business was headquartered in a six-story red brick building in Brooklyn. Donald had business cards made up with the address of his East Side Manhattan apartment. “It was embarrassing,” he says in My Generation, now available as an e-book for the first time. “I couldn’t say I had a Brooklyn office and go out with a model.”

Daily Dose of Donald: Sex and the Single Real Estate Heir

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After he graduated from Wharton, Manhattan became Donald Trump’s graduate school. He majored in making money. He minored in sex, though, taking full advantage of the times and the extraordinary opportunities they offered to indulge in consequence-free promiscuity, “my second business,” Trump recalls in My Generation, now in an e-book for the first time. “If I hadn’t got married, who knows what would have happened? You had drugs, women and booze all over the fuckin’ place.”

Daily Dose of Donald: Draft-dodger?

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The war is not over. In today’s New York Times, a retired Special Forces colonel calls Donald J. Trump a draft-dodger and a coward. In fact, like many of his fellow Baby Boomers “Trump was opposed to the war in Vietnam,” he admits in My Generation, newly available as an e-book. “He ‘saw it as a terrible deal,’ he says. ‘The tremendous conflict at home, while well-intentioned, gave the other side an incentive to keep going, because they knew this country was being ripped apart from within.’” Is that the Donald you know, or the Donald you don’t?

The Daily Donald Flashback: Trump, Understimulated

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As a schoolboy, “I was bored, understimulated,” says Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. “I wanted an energy release.” He found it harassing his teachers, even punching one, though he’d rather talk about throwing chalk at blackboards when they’d turned their backs. “It used to explode if you’d throw it hard,” he recounts with glee in My Generation, now available as an e-book for the first time. @realDonaldTrump #Trump2016 #DonaldTrump #babyboomer

Donald Trump: “I don’t think anybody had more sex than I did. Sex was all over the fucking place.”

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Donald J. Trump (born in 1946) is an unlikely Baby Boomer, but like it or not, he is one, and was one of nineteen profiled in My Generation. Out of print for more than a decade, the book the Orlando Sentinel called “hugely entertaining,” the New York Times Book Review said was “exhaustively researched,” and the Arizona Republic called “thought provoking, and haunted,” is available again as an ebook. Buy it now from Amazon, Kobo, and iBooks. More links (including Nook) will be posted here as they become available.

The Fed: Manhattan luxe real estate market squirms like a slug

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The Federal Reserve Bank says the market for high end real estate in the nation’s hottest market “has been particularly sluggish, reflecting excess supply” since the beginning of the year. You read it here first. Business insider reports the finding and uses Arthur and Will Lie Zeckendorf‘s 15 Central Park West as a symbol of the high water mark, and its slower-selling sibling 50 United Nations Plaza as a marker for today. Sounds like the stunning 50 UN might be a place to park smart money with nearly two-thirds of the apartments sold at discounts as high as sixteen percent.