Category: GripeBox

740 Park: The Comeback Begins

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After an annus horribilus full of troubles, is 740 Park, subject of my 2005 book, once again New York’s Tower of Power? Consider this: Though his primary residence is California, Secretary of the Treasure-designate Steven Mnuchin remains the owner of a duplex there. And ten floors above him in a triplex penthouse lives the cooperative’s president, George David, former chairman and CEO of defense contractor United Technologies, which owns Carrier, the air-conditioning giant that yesterday agreed to keep jobs in the United States. Might the neighbors have facilitated that deal in a little chat in the elevator or the basement … Continue reading

On the Avenue, off the blog shift

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Posts to Gripepad have slowed to a crawl since I started a new job last month as Editor-in-Chief of Avenue Magazine. Things will pick up here again eventually but for the moment, please visit avenuemagazine.com.

Gracias, jueces

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My Departures story, “Mexico City is One of the World’s Greatest Cultural Destinations. So What Are You Waiting For?” has just won a Bronze Lowell Thomas Award in the Cultural Tourism category from The Society of American Travel Writers. Don’t tell Donald Trump.

Looking up with The Notorious DJT

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This is my favorite pickup of my Daily Beast piece on Donald Trump’s model parties from Monday. Click the image!

“Avenue snags author Michael Gross”

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Keith Kelly of the New York Post is first with the news that I’ve been named Editor-in-Chief of Avenue Magazine, effective immediately. Here’s yesterday’s official announcement: AVENUE, New York City’s original society magazine, has named Michael Gross its editor-in-chief, effective tomorrow. Founded in 1976 by Judy Price as a controlled-circulation magazine, and originally distributed exclusively in the so-called “good buildings” of New York’s Upper East Side, AVENUE has spawned a raft of imitators as well as offspring of its own. The most recent are AVENUE on the Beach, a summer-only magazine focusing on the Hamptons, and AVENUE on the Beach … Continue reading

Daily Dose of Donald: Daily Kos Edition

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My reporting on Donald Trump over the years has jumped the fence into the political arena with the publication of “We All Knew About the Trafficking”-The Untold Story of Trump Model Management (Part 1)” by a writer calling herself SwedishJewfish on dailykos.com.

Focus + Funny Face = Avedon Revealed

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UPDATE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED. The landmark Cameo Cinema in St. Helena, in California’s Napa Valley, has just announced that its first Film & Fashion series will launch with a screening of Funny Face and a discussion of the great musical’s back story, as told in Focus. The film, directed by Stanley Donen, stars Fred Astaire as Dick Avery, a fashion photographer based on Richard Avedon, Audrey Hepburn as Jo Stockton, a character based on Avedon’s first wife and muse, Doe Nowell, and Kay Thompson as a Diana Vreeland-like editor. The event, M.C.’d by fashion-show-producer Kevin Krier, takes place … Continue reading

Is being too early the same as being wrong?

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Regardless, I’m still happy to report that Bob Dylan, subject of my first hardcover book in 1978, has just been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. In a lovely coincidence, the cover photograph of Dylan is by Jerry Schatzberg, who is one of the photographers featured in my latest book, Focus.

Daily Dose of Donald: On humility and self-awareness. Really.

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This excerpt from my 1999 interview with Donald Trump for My Generation seems both poignant and pathetic in light of events of the last few days. “You develop a sense of invincibility,” Trump told me. “You think you can do no wrong…You have all these guys who you pay money and they all say, “Don’t do this, don’t do that.” Because basically, every job I did was not supposed to work…Nothing was supposed to work. And they all worked. So you don’t listen to anybody, because they’re all idiots in your opinion, because they were all wrong previously. But the … Continue reading

Donald Trump and that $916 million tax loss

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In his inimitable way, Donald Trump actually boasted about the huge 1995 tax loss reported in today’s New York Times, seventeen years ago. In an interview in 1999, Trump told me the following story, as recounted in my book My Generation: “I was in really deep shit,” Trump said. “You know, publicity is a funny thing. It does create value. But if things go bad, you get it.” One day during the workout of Trump’s financial collapse in the 1990s, which began when losses from his real estate interestss, hotels, casinos and airlinebrought him close to personal bankruptcy, Trump was … Continue reading

Focus comes to Newport, RI–and the oldest lending library in America

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The Redwood Library and Athenænum’s Life of the Mind Salon Series for fall 2016 kicks off Wednesday night October 5th with a wine-and-cheese reception and discussion of Focus, beginning at 5:30 PM. It’s free for members, $10 for non-members. Seating is limited; call 401-847-0295, ext. 112 to make your reservation. Founded in 1747, the Redwood Library and Athenæum is the oldest lending library in America, and the oldest library building in continuous use in the country.

The focus is on Focus next week

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The focus will be on Focus next week at two events. On Tuesday, Sept. 27th, I’ll be speaking and signing books at the Port Washington Public Library. Click the link for details. Then, on Saturday October 1st, novelist and home-entertaining book author Holly Peterson and I appear at Rotisserie Georgette in midtown as part of its Author, Author series of literary lunches. Please come.

Vague-ish

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Yesterday, I succumbed to a Vogue email inviting subscribers to download its latest iPad app and access exclusive digital-only content. How now. But one of the first articles that popped up in the app, “Kate Moss Isn’t the First Model to Run Her Own Agency,” inexplicably neglects several models who were no less than pioneers of the posing trade. Fortunately, you can read all about Dorian Leigh, Natalie Nickerson and Simone d’Aillencourt, among other model entrepreneurs, in the New York Times bestseller Model, and learn what fashion magazines like Vogue won’t tell you about fashion photography in the new Focus. … Continue reading

“Behind the object, there’s a photographer with a story.” –El País on Focus

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Could this be why the fashion media has studiously ignored Focus? “Highly critical of the current moment, in which advertisers and large corporations have taken the reins of the publishing business, [Michael Gross] doesn’t see fashion as dead–just in intensive care,” writes Estel Vilaseca in Spain’s El Pais. “In an account through which models, editors, art directors and photographers pass, personal anecdotes intersect with key events in fashion history, allowing a close-up experience of a period Gross considers unique.”

Quelle Frissell!

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Gripepad has been on a brief hiatus, during which Time Magazine’s Lightbox blog published this story about Toni Frissell, “the Unsung Woman Who Transformed Fashion Phorography”. It expands on the pages on Frissell in Focus.

Focus featured in Barnes & Noble Review

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“Tightly written, exhaustively researched,” Ted Panken writes in “A Fascination with the Moment,” Focus “skillfully juxtaposes the idiosyncrasies, peccadilloes, and debaucheries of [its] protagonists… with the shifting cultural and economic milieu in which they functioned.” Read our lengthy interview here.

Let it rain (adjectives). Read the exposé reviewers call “important (1), amazing…

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… big, intelligent, exhaustively researched, lovingly written (2), smart, well researched and written with an insider’s eye… engaging and on point….canny (3), delicious, sweeping, thoughtful, (4), thoroughly absorbing…enthralling and riveting (5), deep-diving …groundbreaking (6), juicy. . . fascinating (7), sizzling…relentless (8), often-shocking (9), simply unrivaled…a sensation (10), astonishing and unprecedented (11), exciting…a must” (12). Focus. On sale online and in bookstores. Sources: National Post, Chicago Tribune Syndicate, New York Times Book Review, The Daily Beast, Tim Gunn, Project Runway, DuJour, Booklist, Hamptons Magazine, Daily News, craveonline, The Daily Mail, Musée Magazine.

For Focus, an end-of-summer Hamptons book-end

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Focus is “provocative…dishy…” writes Hamptons magazine in an end of summer bookend to its Memorial Day preview of the book. “Fans of his previous work will not be disappointed.” [Scroll down to read a brief interview.]

The reviews are in and Focus is….

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“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), “often-shocking,” (Daily News), “simply unrivaled…a sensation,” (craveonline), “astonishing and unprecedented,” (The Daily Mail), “exciting…a must,” (Musée), and “important,” (National Post).

Focus: “Such a delicious read” –The Daily Beast

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Writing on The Daily Beast today, Lisa Santandrea says Focus is “such a delicious read…sweeping if not exhaustive; thoughtful, but not a work of criticism…It concentrates on the ‘glory days’ of fashion photography, from 1947 to 1997, and traces the rise and the fall of the celebrity photographer. Unfortunately for them, the fall occurs more swiftly than the rise.”

Focus reviewed in the International New York Times

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Focus “does not skimp on the gossipy goods,” writes Kim France. “There are descents into madness, prolific drug use, orgies, blackmail photos and suicide attempts…But this book…is also smart, well-researched and written with an insider’s eye…engaging and on point.” Click the image to read the review

Reminder: Focus on East Hampton this weekend

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I’ll be attending the East Hampton Library’s annual Author’s Night on Saturday, signing copies of Focus, described last Sunday in the New York Times Book Review as “well-researched and written with an insider’s eye,” “engaging,” “on point,” “canny,” and bursting with “gossipy goods.” Please click the image for details and come. Carpe Librum!

Focus is “very compelling,” says PBS host Steve Adubato, and “a page-turner,” says Woodstock Writer’s Radio host Martha Frankel

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Watch my interview with Steve Adubato here. Listen to my interview with Martha Frankel here.

Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, R.I.P.

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Great Britain’s sixth Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor, possessor of a $12 billion fortune and owner of much of the land beneath Mayfair and Belgravia in London, has died at age 64, reports The Daily Mail. I interviewed the Duke and reported on a weeklong visit to New York almost thirty years ago for The New York Times. ”I do get tired,” he told me at age 34. ”You never sit down. When the adrenaline settles, it will be like having taken 100 sleeping pills and waking with a hangover.”

Focus is “well researched and written with an insider’s eye…engaging and on point…canny…” –New York Times Book Review

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“There are descents into madness, prolific drug use, orgies, blackmail photos and suicide attempts, successful and otherwise,” Kim France writes in this coming Sunday’s Book Review.  ”There is so much womanizing that the theme of infidelity is basically a subplot, and pretty much boils down to the following: A stunning model walks into a photographer’s studio; a marriage dies.”  Click the link to read the review.  

“The ultimate beach book…unrivaled…a sensation…” –Crave Online

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Crave Online’s Sara Rosen writes that Focus is “an intricate web of fashion, photography, and magazine publishing that is simply unrivaled…Focus is a sensation, one that brilliantly blends the wild histories of seemingly disparate lives that were bumping up against each other inside the magazines. Gross is a modern day Vasari, giving us The Lives of the Artists in no small measure. But Focus is more than the stories contained within: it is an epitaph for an era whose time has come and gone.”

Focus is “magic.” –Fashion Reverie

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“Great content,” writes William S. Gooch on fashionreverie.com, “can illuminate, educate, and charm the reader. Michael Gross, in his new book ‘Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers,’ has done both. The Golden Age of Fashion Photography is an era that wistful fashion pundits pine, reminisce, celebrate, and mourn for. In ‘Focus’ Michael Gross does all that—well maybe, not mourn—and so much more. ‘Focus’ artfully details how it all came to be, with images and content that stimulate the imagination, and tantalize the appetite for that rare synthesis of craft-meets-passion-meets-creativity, the true birthplace of all great art.” … Continue reading

“A scintillating snapshot of the world of fashion photography” –Daily News

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The Daily News featured Focus again today in a Confidential item that only appears in the printed paper. In case you didn’t see it, click the image to read it.

SpareMin finds Focus

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The SpareMin podcast spares a minute for Focus in its latest episode. You can hear my interview with Matthew Demello here. Just drag the slider on the podcast player to the 29:00 minute mark.

Focus on American Fashion

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American Fashion Podcast, “for the true fashion nerd,” focuses on Focus in its latest edition. Listen to it here.

Focus on The Today Show

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The Today Show focused on Focus yesterday. Or rather, The Today Show in Australia. An author “exposing” fashion’s excesses is not entirely without honor on morning television!

Donald, Melania and The Art of Model Humping: A sex-and-money story

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The Daily Beast just published my meditation on Melania Trump, alleged former supermodel, and Donald J. Trump, her model-agency-owning presidential-wannabe squeeze.

“Dirty secrets, harassment, perversion and manipulation”: This is not Republican convention coverage

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Calling Melania Trump! The Slovenian former model (pictured on an old GQ cover) could be the key to unlocking what’s said in this story about Focus from Slovene Novice. Referring to a Helmut Newton photo session starring former model (and current Mrs. Rupert Murdoch) Jerry Hall, the headline reads, “He ordered her to lick his boots.”

Focus on Bryant Park: See You Wednesday

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On Wednesday July 20th, I’ll be speaking al fresco about Focus and the fabulous characters in it at The Bryant Park Reading Room in the heart of Manhattan from 12:30pm-1:30pm, in conversation with Alina Cho, the noted broadcast journalist, fashion commentator, and Editor-at-Large of Ballantine Bantam Dell. I’ll be signing books, too, after our talk. In case of rain, events are held under a tent at the Reading Room. In case of severe weather, please check bryantpark.org for the indoor location.

“Fashion photography is not about what’s been but what’s next.”

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Fashion photography web site Thebreed.com looks at the “provocative” Focus today. “It covers the lives of fashion photography’s masters,” Elyssa Goodman writes, “detailing their creative spirit and technical skill alongside their egos and vices. It shares the stories of the men and women behind the legends, what made them, what broke them, and why we must remember them today.”

Pat and Mike Live at B&N

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Last night, a standing-room-only crowd filled Barnes & Noble’s Upper West Side store at 82nd Street and Broadway for a talk and book signing with (from left), supermodel-turned-memoirist Pat Cleveland, me, and photographer-turned Musee magazine editor Andrea Blanch. Thanks B&N and all who attended, including fans, friends, designer Stephen Burrows, models Alva Chinn, Bonnie Pfeifer and Nancy Donahue, and photographer-and-hair God Harry King. For those who missed it, more signed copies of Pat’s Walking with the Muses and Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers are available in the store. #BNUpperWestSide @BNUpperWS #focuysyourselfie (The photo is by … Continue reading

“Photography is dead,” says (former?) fashion photographer Nick Knight, declaring “truth” collateral damage

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Echoing one of the themes of Focus–that an era has ended–photo editor and photographer Nick Knight has given an interview in which he goes a step further and declares photography dead. Then Knight, whose web site describes him as “among the world’s most influential and visionary photographers,” goes on, positing that photography has been usurped by what he calls “image-making — please could someone get a better description of it — because that’s what I do,” he says. “Because that can take in sound and movement and 3D, which I think are really part of this new art form. So … Continue reading

Focus is “important…clear and thorough.” –The National Post

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“Focus is a cultural history of how photography shaped the rest of the fashion industry,” writes Anna Fitzpatrick in her review of Focus in today’s National Post of Canada. “It is also a salacious collection of stories, a fact it never tries to hide. Above all, Focus is a survey of men behaving badly…Gross captures so well the century-long rivalry between Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, chronicling the musical chairs of editorial staff and their shifting allegiances with photographers. But the most prominent women in the book are the muses….To his credit, [Gross] does make a concerted effort to include the … Continue reading

“The epitome of fashion is some second rate celebrity showing her ass on the red carpet? Really depressing. But once something becomes fashion, it looks for the next fashion.”

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Former Richard Avedon assistant and Vogue photographer Andrea Blanch interviewed me last week for her Musee Magazine. We spoke about the rise and fall of fashion photography, the chance it will rise again, the reign of Anna Wintour, the wonder that’s Franca Sozzani, our transgender moment, and lots lots more in a wide-ranging conversation.

Headbutler on Focus: “Fashion, photography, dish, drugs, sleaze, money, fame — click! Michael Gross takes on the Swells where they live.”

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“Almost alone among writers who chronicle the rich and glittering in New York,[Michael Gross] doesn’t write books that endear him to his subjects,” writes Jesse Kornbluth on Headbutler today. “Does he get asked to chic dinners at the homes of the 1%? I’m thinking it rarely happens. I’m thinking he doesn’t care….Now, we have Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers…Many of the photographers he profiles are dead. If not, they might die of embarrassment — or would, if they could assess their behavior in a context that resembles life as you and I experience it….Focus is … Continue reading

Pat and Mike at B&N: The long and short of it

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A reminder that I’ll be signing copies of Focus and dissecting the fashion circus with my longtime friend supermodel Pat Cleveland this coming Wednesday July 13th at a talk moderated by former Vogue photographer Andrea Blanch, the founder and editor-in-chief of Musée Magazine. Please join us at 7PM that night at the Barnes & Noble at Broadway and West 82nd Street. Special Instructions: Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Books can be picked up after signing. If you have questions or concerns, email crm19792@bn.com or ask a bookseller for more information. #focusyourselfie #focusthebook @BNBuzz … Continue reading

Focus is “illuminating” –Beach magazine

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In the latest issue of Beach, Daniel Hirsch of Southampton Books names Focus a “best beach read” of the summer, calling it “an illuminating history of the men and women behind some of fashion’s most iconic images.”

A distraction from Clinton vs. Trump

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When it comes to votes, this one is pretty wild.  The commentors vie to name the supermodel at the Bill King-directed orgy on blindgossip.com.  

Focus is the book. “Wow is the word,” says New York Social Diary. “Couldn’t-put-it-down.”

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On today’s New York Social Diary, David Patrick Columbia covers the launch party for Focus (scroll down to the last long item here), the book itself, and the world it reveals. “Wine, women and song,” Columbia writes. “Boys too, if required. Not to mention drugs. Cool dudes, flashy cars, psycho-tempers, and sex everywhere to choose from. Work junkets all over the world and surrounded by beautiful people looking up at them rather than vice versa. The photographers were the real story.”

“Fascinating insight,” says Musée Magazine. Focus is “a must.”

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In Musée Magazine, Tal Yaron reviews Focus as “a behind-the-scenes view of fashion photography’s apex. Gross shows us the humanity or lack there-of in all these real life figures that he chooses to represent as the epitome of the art at its peak. Focus provides fascinating insight into the lives of these fashion icons [and] shows us the freedom, individuality, self-expression and experimentation in an industry that has long since lost those values, chasing money now instead of dreams…An exciting read, full of anecdotes and whispers of a fashion era long gone, a must for photography enthusiasts, magazine historians, fashionistas, … Continue reading

Focus is “staggeringly impressive,” says Project Runway’s Tim Gunn on thethick.com

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In the latest episode of the “Possible Conversation” series on thethick.com, Project Runway’s fashion eminence Tim Gunn and I dish on Focus, the fashion industry, and its fear of truth. Focus, says Gunn, is “captivating…electrifying…just riveting….a staggeringly impressive job.” A thousand thanks to Tim and all at thethick.

Focus: “astonishing and unprecedented” –Dailymail.com

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The Daily Mail has just published a lavishly illustrated look into the pages of the just-published Focus. “In an astonishing and unprecedented look at the top-tier of photographers, Gross exposes the egos and private passions of these manipulative artists.” Focus is “compelling and often shocking,” says the Mail’s Caroline Howe. Thank you!!

Focus is (finally) on sale

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Focus “uncovers a world of drama” and “the dirty secrets of fashion photographers,” says New York Mag

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New York Magazine’s The Cut considers Focus today.  Danielle Cohen writes, “Laying bare friendships, breakups, rivalries, and liaisons among fashion photographers over the past six decades, Focus delves into the stories behind their cameras, exposing both their unparalleled talents and private affairs.”

Pat & Mike at B&N: Come join the fun

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I’ll be signing copies of Focus and dissecting the fashion circus with my longtime friend supermodel Pat Cleveland on July 13th at a talk moderated by former Vogue photographer Andrea Blanch, the founder and editor-in-chief of Musee Magazine. Please join us at 7PM that night at the Barnes & Noble at Broadway and West 82nd Street. Special Instructions: Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Books can be picked up after signing. If you have questions or concerns, email crm19792@bn.com or ask a bookseller for more information. #focusyourselfie #focusthebook @BNBuzz #BNAuthorEvent