Monday, October 20, 2014

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NY1 teams with contributors from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Slate.com and Essence Magazine to review the latest books and book-related trends.

The Book Reader: 'Hijacking the Runway'

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Patrik Henry Bass of Essence Magazine reports on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in The Book Reader.

You don't have to appreciate the allure of superstars or supermodels to enjoy "Hijacking the Runway," a new non-fiction page-turner by veteran Wall Street journal reporter Teri Agins. In this literary mash-up of Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" and Robert Altman's "Pret-a-Porter," Agins confidently takes us inside fashion and what feels like circus tents to chronicle the improbable fall of several venerable design houses to forces with even bigger egos and backers: celebrities.

But "Hijacking the Runway" is so much more. Agins holds up a mirror to contemporary culture, and what we see staring back are some ugly truths about the triumph of marketing and branding over art, our endless addiction to star power, and how social media allows some individuals to cash in their 15 minutes of fame for an ever bigger bounty: mega millions via deals with discount chains, department stores and shopping channels.

Like her 1999 hit, "The End of Fashion," Agins spices this splashy cocktail with more bold-faced names than the Andy Warhol Diaries. And like her first book, "Hijacking the Runway" is packed with memorable anecdotes, including a lesson in hubris that even Kanye West had to learn.

And the book isn't just about the famous. You'll enjoy reading about the rise and rise of Yakini Etheridge, and how this psychologist by day is now sought after by advertisers who crave her Midas touch.

Overall, "Hijacking the Runway" is a fascinating account of our unpredictable times in which consumers no longer adhere to dictates and instead are driving the democratization of nearly every imaginable industry, including one in which you have the power over the remote control.

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