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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
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
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
’s dogs asleep on his couch.
Mr. Blasberg has interviewed
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
, 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.
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
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.
*UPDATED April 21st - Personal Style Feat. Prada Spring Summer 2012*
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