Here are two of the articles Blasberg wrote for NYUNews.com that brought his some attention at the beginnings of his career :
Milan fashion goes political
New styles echo war concerns at fashion week
by Derek Blasberg
Published March 25, 2003
Conservative dressers will be pleased come Fall/Winter 2003 by the looks of what was on the runways in Milan this week. Milan Fashion Week took a more reserved approach to dressing as Prada, Gucci and Dolce ' Gabbana - three of Milan's most influential designers - showed less full-on sex this season, and instead opted for modesty.
Miuccia Prada, the woman who revolutionized her namesake brand from leather goods to a successful ready-to-wear line, created a well-received celebration of masculine tailoring, With William Morris prints and dainty military chic, Prada's collection proved to be the ideal clothing for a chic metropolitan woman in these times of impending war.
A new funnel-necked, high-belted utilitarian trench coat complimented by alligator-skin gloves opened the show. Under argyle sweaters, men's dress shirts were chopped and tucked into knee-length skirts. Manly British tweeds were paired with bright prints and decorated with silk linings and luxury furs. As the show progressed, the clothes became more effeminate with floral-print dresses, high-heeled alligator shoes, a leopard-skin coat and sheer evening dresses.
Most impressive at the Prada show was a military-inspired coat, oversized, boxy and devoid of buttons but held shut by a dainty belt. It suggested feminine aggression, modest but strong.
After her show, Prada explained to American Vogue's Sarah Mower that this collection was a 'desperate search for beauty as we wait for war.'
Gucci's Tom Ford had a similar insight as he attempted to address social issues within the fabric of fashion. Ford applied aggressive sexuality via huge collars, ballooned sleeves, over-the-knee leather boots and tightly bound midsections this season. All the skirts dropped to the knee and necklines remained at a churchly level.
Following the war theme, Ford created furtive attire for the 'James Bond' spy vixen. Dark, smudged eyes, black gloves and black shades completed the secret-agent look, which was followed by a nighttime spy finale - cut-out ruffled dresses, corseted and flowing satin, and furs.
Ford's styling was hard, and the dominant color throughout the presentation was black, black, black. To compensate, the finale included 50,000 white rose petals raining from the ceiling. Ford described the collection to British Vogue as 'modern, romantic and powerful.'
Stefano Gabbana, one half of Dolce ' Gabbana, described his show as 'techno romance,' which was the stimulus for both the acidic colors and floral prints. What did not fit the designer's description were the body-squeezed corseted dresses and tightly tailored pin-stripe suits, typical D'G pieces.
The show opened with a bang: Supermodel Linda Evangelista, in her first runway walk in years, modeled a black, satin corset dress and black, opaque tights underneath a deep orange-colored coat.
The show progressed in two directions. The first half consisted primarily of black, D'G-staple suits with higher waists, followed by more edgy neon, floral and iridescent designs in the second half. In between, the fashion spanned from Chicago-inspired fringe dresses to modern art-inspired shifts, tight pin-stripe suits and hip-hop down jackets.
'We want to make our women feel special,' the duo told reporters after the show. This collection had a piece for every woman - for those dressing conservatively in the face of a dismal political future and those using flashy fashion as an escape.
Women's fashion is following the increasingly aggressive political climate around Washington Square Park, trading girliness for the hippie-tomboy look.
'I dress like a yard sale, a yard sale where West Coast hippie meets white trash meets Wall Street,' said Veronica Collins, a College of Arts and Science junior. Her wardrobe is not just any yard sale, however - it is an international yard sale.
She owns a green, Saks Fifth Avenue leather jacket, found at a thrift store in the East Village; a wool poncho; flat, black, leather boots picked up in London; a belt from a 57th Street boutique; and a red, leather carry-all she bought in Italy.
Collins prefers Seven jeans and Kmart sleeveless undershirts for consistent staples. What she did not buy around the world, she stole from around the house: her father's Ray Ban sunglasses, her mother's '70s bangles and cuffs, her grandmother's wedding ring.
On and off campus, Collins is typically seen in old hippie pieces mixed with masculine fabrics and cuts, accented with feminine accessories. Since high school, Collins has worked in art galleries, where she picked up her eclectic, ever-changing style.
For spring, Collins has been again scouring East Village thrift stores, hoping to find more crisp, shrunken blazers and mini-skirts to add to her always-growing wardrobe, which still holds many pieces from eighth grade.
However, with her graduation quickly approaching, she is starting to incorporate more grown-up hippie and vintage pieces befit of a future art-gallery owner or Sotheby's art lawyer.
Alicia Christoff, a CAS junior majoring in English and psychology, is quick to confirm that she hates to look too girly. 'I like scrubby [T-shirts] and jeans,' she said. 'I don't want to look too butch, but I hate looking too girly.'
The majority of her clothing was bought in New York, like her camel-colored Gap blazer, Urban Outfitters chunky sweater, Lucky jeans and DKNY camisole. What was not bought at these national retail chains was picked up at local East Village thrift stores, like her brown leather purse, her silver hoop earrings and the red silk scarf that she wears as a belt.
Christoff finds it difficult to pinpoint a definition of her style, but admits to being a bit hippie 'because I like scarves around my waist and I don't wear a bra.'
Ultimately, after she graduates in 2004, she plans to climb her way up the publishing ladder, hoping to one day edit novels, a profession that, likely to Christoff's delight, is not known for its girly dress code, but one which will probably require her to wear a bra.
Saskia Miller's favorite pants, a pair of tight, black jeans with a vintage, quilted floral print stitched like underwear on the rear, explain her personal style - hippie elements of decades past incorporated into a contemporary wardrobe.
'Right now I really like this hippie tomboy look,' said Miller, a junior in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, who generally sports retro clothes contrasted with manly jackets, flat shoes and minimal yet feminine makeup.
Miller is in constant pursuit of vintage shops that carry her hobo-hippie look, shops where she found most of her outfit: the princess-sleeved, '70s, Rebecca Taylor blazer; distressed, brown, leather purse; paisley scarf; Converse trainers; earrings; and big, gold bracelet.
Working as a part-time model provided her with those black Wink jeans (she was in the show) and Abercrombie ' Fitch tank (she was in the campaign). She bit the bullet and went retail for the rest of her outfit - the shear, off-the-shoulder top is from H'M and her gray sweater is from Laundry.
'I don't like anything too girly or feminine, except jewelry,' Miller said, pointing out that well-tailored, basic pieces are still sexy, given the appropriate accessories and makeup. The greatest aspect of this style is the comfort of warm, soft materials and practical footwear, which she limits to Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars, cowboy boots and a pair of heels.
A practical and comfortable wardrobe is something Miller needs come April, when she goes to Berlin to study film and comparative literature. A fan of layers, Miller is looking forward to a postponed spring in the German capital, where she can keep wearing her vintage cardigans and shrunken blazers for just a bit longer.
EARLY ACCESS Mr. Blasberg with Naomi Campbell in South Beach in December. Models and socialites count on him to present their best face. By ERIC WILSON
Published: April 14, 2010
WE are in a town car heading down Park Avenue from one party to another. Leigh Lezark, the Misshapes D.J., is pulling at the top of her slinky ivory pants in the back seat. Geordon Nicol, her partner, is riding shotgun. Squished on the middle hump, typing on a BlackBerry, is Derek Blasberg, a 27-year-old writer who looks, in a white one-button suit and bucks given to him by Burberry, as if he is wearing a Tom Wolfe costume, minus the hat. Talk is about work and travel and work-related travel.
“I’m going to Thailand on Thursday,” says Mr. Nicol, his eyes barely visible beneath a Peggy Moffitt haircut.
“But that’s for the operation,” says Mr. Blasberg, teasing him.
“Are you going to St.-Tropez?” Ms. Lezark asks.
“For Louis Vuitton?” Mr. Blasberg replies.
“Chanel,” she says.
“Yes, yes,” Mr. Blasberg says, excited, though his plans are not set. “Are they making you work?”
By work, he means to ask whether Ms. Lezark will be spinning for her supper next month at the runway show for Chanel’s annual resort collection, which is presented in a different port of call each year, or whether she is among the many fabulous people who are being hauled on Chanel’s dime to the French Riviera just to show up for the event. People like him, he means.
In simpler terms, work, for Mr. Blasberg, means what he is doing right now, which is being a part of a scene. What that scene is does not matter, so long as the same Very Important People are there being photographed, their dresses remarked upon and their names recorded in the party pages of a newspaper or magazine or whichever blog is in favor at the moment, like the one written by Mr. Blasberg for Style.com. He is very good at his part — witty, teddy-bear cute but no threat to anyone’s husband, an enthusiastic dancer and, to the consternation of many of his more journalistic peers, a chronicler who reports only that the dresses are gorgeous and the parties are hot, hot, hot. Even when they are not.
The car arrives in Chelsea, at the home of Lauren Santo Domingo, a contributing editor at Vogue who is serving dinner for 40 in honor of Mr. Blasberg’s first book, “Classy,” a primer on ladylike behavior. The writer melds into a scene that includes several fashion designers (Rachel Roy, Chris Benz, Jack McCollough, Lazaro Hernandez), models (Jessica Stam, Byrdie Bell) and socials (Claire Bernard, Marjorie Gubelmann, Barbara Bush). “I told him there will be a full tent party for his second book,” Ms. Santo Domingo says.
This reporter could go on describing who was there, but that is Mr. Blasberg’s job, and, really, he seems to enjoy it so much — the parties and the free trips and the clothes and the lifestyle. Last year, he was flown to events in Rio de Janeiro for Fashion Rocks; Moscow for the opening of a Diane Von Furstenberg exhibition; London for the Frieze Art Fair; Vienna for the Life Ball; and Venice, twice, for the Biennale and another Chanel show.
He was in Tokyo last month for its Fashion Week, courtesy of a Japanese trade group. His nerdy-chic pairing of bow ties with sneakers inspired the look of the male characters on “Gossip Girl.” And he was the second most photographed guest at fashion parties for the year, according to a ranking by Style.com, a list on which he outranked Karl Lagerfeld and Lorenzo Martone and was bested only by Lindsay Lohan.
“Liza Minnelli told me that the only way to get people to leave a party is to have a plan for later,” he said over breakfast at Balthazar last Friday. He had had some late nights that week, including his own party on April 6 and then a New Yorkers for Children benefit at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on April 8, from which he had filed his report only a few hours earlier. He joked that his job is to rewrite last year’s party coverage, changing only the names.
Since his arrival on the scene a decade ago, when he was a freshman at New York University, Mr. Blasberg has gone unrivaled in making connections with boldface names, connections so tight that he himself has become a person whose name is more often on the invitation than the envelope. Ms. Santo Domingo, along with Chloë Sevigny, the actress, and Dasha Zhukova, the Russian heiress, were hosts of a party at Barneys last week for his book. Ms. Sevigny and Karlie Kloss, the model of the moment, will accompany him to St. Louis, his hometown, on April 17 for a Contemporary Art Museum gala, for which they are chairs. Ms. Bush, the former first daughter, will toast him in Dallas later this month.
And yet Mr. Blasberg, who describes himself as a fashion and arts writer, is reluctant to carry the other mantle usually assigned to him: “It boy.” (Early in our correspondence, he said he was hoping for an article that would not include those words because he thought they devalued his hard work as a writer.)
“I am aware that most 27-year-old writers do not co-host galas in their hometowns,” he said. “But there is a difference between hosting a benefit for a museum that you believe in and putting your name on every store opening on the Upper East Side.”
Nevertheless, his ascent through Manhattan’s complicated social strata has come with a price, which is that he is held to the same scrutiny as his subjects, and by those who do not always see things as positively as he does. During his brief career, Mr. Blasberg has been described as a “high-society boy toy” (The New York Post), a “sharp-tongued party boy” (New York magazine), a “scribe and general gadfly” (The Daily News), and a “fashion-writer/socialite-walker hybrid,” a “male socialite” and an “annoying writer-socialite” (all by The New York Observer). To people outside his world, it has never been clear whether Mr. Blasberg aspired to be the Truman Capote of his generation, or the Carrie Bradshaw.
“I feel like I have been portrayed as if I was standing outside Cipriani hoping someone picks me as their plus-one,” he said.
BACK to that Barneys party: It was fairly obvious that Mr. Blasberg is greatly admired by socialites and fashion insiders, who are not exactly cuddly to people with notepads and pens in their hands. In addition to the usual suspects, like Tinsley Mortimer, of the reality-show Mortimers, there were esteemed industry professionals, like Pat McGrath, the makeup artist; Terry Richardson, the photographer; and Edward Enninful, the Vogue stylist; plus a contingent of cool kids from Europe, including Julia Restoin-Roitfeld and Giovanna Battaglia.
“He’s like a male Elsa Maxwell,” said Simon Doonan, the creative director of Barneys. “He is a social catalyst who can cut across all different levels, mixing society ladies with strippers.”
Off in a corner were Mr. Blasberg’s parents, Bill and Carol Blasberg, a retired controller and the managing editor of a journal on cardiothoracic surgery, who said they were both surprised in 2000 when their younger son told them he wanted to move to New York. “I had a friend in New York publishing who said he would never make it here,” his mother said. “We were worried.”
In the suburbs of St. Louis, he was a popular student and class salutatorian at Affton High School, and had written on his bedsheets, “New York or bust!” He loved to dance and was an excellent water-skier.
“He’s like a male Esther Williams,” Mr. Doonan interrupted.
At N.Y.U., Mr. Blasberg met a model who lived in his dorm and who introduced him to her agent at Elite, where he got a job writing bios of models. During a semester abroad in London, he did the same for Models 1, a top agency in Europe. During his junior year, he was an intern at W, and his senior year was spent at Vogue. All of those jobs enabled easy access to glamorous parties, where he befriended a group of hot young designers, including Mr. Hernandez and Mr. McCollough of the label Proenza Schouler. And he got a little big for his britches, he said, offending some Vogue colleagues by striving for greater jobs before he had paid his dues.
His departure from the magazine, after less than a year, would have been unremarkable, had it not coincided with a Page Six item in The Post that linked a romantic spat between the Proenza Schouler designers to an affair with a young Vogue staff member. (The staff member was unnamed in the original report, but the gossip column has since referred directly to Mr. Blasberg as its subject.) Though he denied its accuracy, Mr. Blasberg said the article was an embarrassment to the magazine. He said his experience there was the only regret of his career, since he can’t go back.
“Sometimes I wish that Anna Wintour didn’t know I existed,” he said. But the Proenza Schouler designers remain his friends.
As he began to make his way as a freelance writer, Mr. Blasberg found himself embroiled in a second scandal. In 2006, an anonymous blog called Socialite Rank appeared, skewering the gilded lilies with cruel taunts about their social-climbing ways. Many people guessed that its author was Mr. Blasberg because of his uncanny access. (It was later revealed to have been the work of Olga Rei and Valentine Uhovski, stepsiblings who shared a fascination with the social culture while working as fashion journalists.) Mr. Blasberg is still hurt when anyone mentions the blog. Having been unfairly accused, he said, he won’t write anything bad about anyone, which helps to explain why so many companies are eager to court his favor.
“I don’t have some sort of moral dilemma with coming as a guest to an event or a fashion show,” he said. “I don’t lie. I just try to find what was positive and only speak about that.”
Mr. Blasberg now works as a senior fashion news editor at V magazine and as editor at large at Style.com, in addition to freelance work for Harper’s Bazaar and Interview, where editors appreciate his connections.
“We’re not covering the White House or the Pentagon here,” said Dirk Standen, the editor in chief of Style.com. “We are trying to give people a sense of what it is like at these parties, and Derek brings a level of intimacy with the right people.” Mr. Standen cited a recent photo diary from Fashion Week, which included a candid image of Axl Rose taken very late into the night and one of Stefano Pilati’s dogs asleep on his couch.
Mr. Blasberg has interviewed Tom Ford and Emma Watson. He edited an earlier book, “Influence,” by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. “Classy,” the new advice book, is very wordy and frequently crassy, as when he describes why it is a bad idea to wear white jeans to a barbecue. “Answered Prayers” it is not. But then, few writers have penetrated the social world as deeply as Mr. Blasberg without knowing the fear that the party could end with the stroke of a pen.
“It would be easier to write that all the girls were smoking in the bathroom, or to say that everyone was bored or social climbing,” he said. “But I don’t think anyone wins from those kinds of stories.”
WE are in the nightclub on the 18th floor of the Standard Hotel, standing at a bar that smells like pool and hamburgers. The party is for the Art Production Fund. Jane Holzer walks by, and Mr. Blasberg, who is drinking vodka with ginger ale — “the Blasberg,” he says — notices she is wearing flip-flops. Everyone notices him: Yvonne Force Villareal, Diana Picasso, Amy Sacco, Will Cotton, Terence Koh, whose right hand is painted gold this evening as some sort of performance art, which Mr. Cotton promptly ruins by spilling a drink on it. André Balazs compliments Mr. Blasberg on his book. “I love the paper stock,” he says.
Mr. Blasberg is full of gossip: the designer who is rumored to be having a Sapphic affair; the guest whose back story involves Bill Clinton and an airplane. As Kembra Pfahler and her two band mates in the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black squeeze by, their bodies covered only in red paint and huge black wigs, he yells across the noise to Hope Atherton and Gavin Brown, “So that’s what a vagina looks like!” Another guest walks by in a too-tight corseted dress, and Mr. Blasberg looks stricken. “That must be special order,” he says, “because Dolce stopped making that years ago.”
Not a word of this, of course, will be repeated.
He might lost his job at style.com for accepting payment for allegedly writing about a party for cash...although I thought the NY Times hinted that he does this because he doesn't ever write anything negative.
Yep, I bought it. I didn't really know what to expect since I don't really pay attention to what's written in style.com by Derek B. The book has a little too much pictures of famous friends but otherwise, very witty commentary and like you said, entertaining read... I liked the Yes! That's classy! And no! Tramp Stamp! pages.
I dont know about this one. I find it hard to take his words seriously. He always seems to be just to be just trailing off about how many famous friends he has..I don't think I have read a decent show review from him
I am thinking of ordering it, just for fun, ive seen some scans of it and too love the Classy and Tramp Stamp sections...i wouldnt take it too seriously, i dont think it was meant to be taken seriously.