Category: GripeBox

Mnuchin Asking $32.5 Million at 740 Park

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The news that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has listed his sprawling A-Line duplex at 740 Park Avenue made headlines this week.  Besides the Wall Street Journal’s scoop by Katherine Clarke (shown), Forbes also featured the listing, citing the book that remains the primary source on the world’s richest apartment building.

Genuine Authentic e-book Released

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The e-book of Genuine Authentic, available for the first time and released yesterday, is the #1 new fashion book in Amazon’s Kindle Store.  The book, first published in 2003, has also been re-released in a new paperback edition to note Polo Ralph Lauren’s 50th birthday, with a new Afterword.

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 … Continue reading

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.”

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, … Continue reading

“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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Focus: The truth about Terry Richardson

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Exposing Terry Richardson and the sexual harassment of fashion models Continue reading

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.

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.

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.

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

Focus is in paperback August 29th

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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), “often-shocking,” (Daily News), “simply unrivaled…a sensation,” (craveonline), “astonishing and unprecedented,” (The Daily Mail), “exciting…a … Continue reading

La Serenissima Under Seige

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Venice is under attack by invading hordes…again. Here’s a guide to seeing it, not them. Continue reading

Plutocrat Podcast

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Last week, William D. Cohan interviewed me on covering the world of wealth in New York at a 92Y Talk. Here’s the podcast.

21st Century Rockefellers

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The Rockefeller family’s enduring legacy, the subject of a feature story by Michael Kaplan in today’s New York Post, is also a prominent theme in 740 Park and Rogues’ Gallery, two of my books. News-hooked on the recent death of David, the last surviving son of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the only one to live in 740 Park, the story addresses how great fortunes are dispersed and thus dissipated in large families, and asks if this wealthy family’s name still matters. I say it does, and others agree. In large part, that’s because, as Kaplan writes, “the family never … Continue reading

The elusive Alaia speaks, too

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In today’s New York Times, Guy Trebay reports on a short film about the designer Azzedine Alaia by fashion stylist Joe McKenna. “The one person not heard from is the designer himself,” Trebay writes. Says McKenna, “the minute it seems like you’re interviewing him, he clams up.” In 1989, I had the privilege of profiling Alaia for the long defunct European Travel & Life magazine. The story includes cameos by Naomi Campbell, Janice Dickinson, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Yasmine Parveneh, among others. You can read our lengthy conversation here. The photograph of Alaia, Lisa Marie and me was taken … Continue reading

Avenue: Repaved

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Today marks the dawn of a new era at AVENUE magazine. The New York Post’s Keith Kelly reports on the new design and new website. And there’s more to come. Thanks, Julia Restoin Roitfeld for posing for our first redesigned cover!

Secrets of the City, Revealed

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“One of our most provocative journalists, Michael Gross has cornered the market for insiders’ stories of the most bewitching and private worlds of the privileged, very rich, talented and beautiful,” says the 92nd Street Y, announcing my forthcoming appearance there on the night of June 12th, when I’ll engage in conversation with William D. Cohan, the former M&A investment banker for Lazard Frères and bestselling author of books about Wall Street. Speaking of insider stories, on Friday, Bloomberg “revealed” details of financier and Trump administration advisor Stephen Schwarzman‘s 70th birthday party in Palm Beach this weekend. But readers of AVENUE … Continue reading

Viva Mexico!

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Today seems as good a day as any to repost my celebration of the culture and cosmopolitanism of Mexico City from Departures Magazine. Click this link to read it.

You read it here first: Dish served cold

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A posthumous profile of Aileen Mehle, aka Suzy, by Bob Colacello in the January Vanity Fair quotes my first-ever cover story for New York Magazine in 1988, “Inside Gossip,” on a catfight among what was then a passel of New York gossip columnists. Colacello confirms something I printed in the very same piece from which he quotes me, which featured Mehle and a certain wealthy New Yorker who had not yet found his signature coif on the cover. It was 1988 and when my editor insisted I print Mehle’s age, I asked her, she replied, “Oh hahahaha,” and so I … Continue reading

15CPW: Still the Champ

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Real Estate Weekly reports that the highest price per square foot achieved in New York last year was nearly $10,000 paid for a sky high apartment at Fifteen Central Park West.  That’s more  money (by a significant measure) than any of the wannabes on the Billionaire’s Belt attracted.  Toldja so.

Avenue’s January issue has dropped…

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…and the New York Post and PageSix.com have taken notice. “The old guard won’t like the Avenue magazine’s new Palm Beach A-list,” which is featured in the issue, Richard Johnson writes, due to its inclusion of pop-culture Palm Beachers like Donald and Melania Trump, Howard and Beth Stern and Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster. And the A-list is just the beginning. Our cover star is Kara Ross, and the issue delves into both Trump’s Coconut Cabinet of Palm Beach potentates and the town’s new Royal Poinciana shopping center. If you aren’t fortunate enough to live in a building where Avenue … Continue reading

Pink Sand Paradise: Bermuda Reborn

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My report on the rebirth of Bermuda, spurred by the upcoming America’s Cup races, is in the new issue of Departures, but for now you can only read it if you have an American Express Platinum card (I don’t). I’ll post it again here once it’s been unlocked online.

Carrie Fisher, RIP

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Half a lifetime ago, I profiled a thirty-year-old Carrie Fisher. The story is as good a celebration of her life force as I can share. Click the link to read my profile, the photo to see how it appeared in the paper.

RIP China Machado

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China Machado, the pioneering multiracial model, fashion editor and muse to photographer Richard Avedon, has died at age 87. Ivan Bart, her agent at IMG Models confirmed the news. Machado plays roles in both Model and Focus, though to my great regret, I never interviewed her at length. But I was happy to call her a friend.

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