PaperCity Magazine

September 2017 - Houston

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Page 126 of 195

125 fact, during World War II, he was in the Navy Jazz Band. But, by the time I came along, he decided to be responsible and had a career in real estate investment. My parents were married for 61 years. My mother died in 2011; my father, in January of 2016. Because my parents had both been creative — my mother loved to paint — they had friends and experiences that were more bohemian than might be expected from mid-century Kansas. I must have been seven or eight when we went for the first time to Spain and Morocco, and we took regular trips to Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. My parents were always very supportive of my work, regardless of where in the world it took me, and were very encouraging about the de Menil biography. After my father died, I received a modest inheritance, a sum that allowed me to finish writing the manuscript without worrying about where my next meal might come from. On becoming a writer. I had always been fascinated by reading and writing. In high school, I wrote for the school newspaper. My senior year, I wrote film reviews. I studied journalism at the University of Kansas. Because I knew that I wanted to work in magazines, I moved, at the age of 23, to New York. My first job was at Fairchild Publications, for Daily News Record, the companion to the group's Women's Wear Daily. I then worked for Connoisseur, the arts magazine run by Thomas Hoving, former director of the Metropolitan Museum, and then for Metropolitan Home. Your Paris chapter. Even before I went to France for the first time — Christmas 1989 — I had long been fascinated by France. So, nine months after my first trip to Paris, I decided to take the plunge and move from New York to Paris. I was 28, and made the move as the Paris city editor for Metropolitan Home. I was soon fluent in French. I remember sitting in my tiny first apartment, on the rue des Mauvais Garçons, listening to interview tapes and looking up words in the dictionary. For Met Home, I wrote about innovative architects, designers, and dealers of 20th- century design. What oil is to Houston, fashion is to Paris. So, I began writing more style- related subjects and was hired by the Paris office of Fairchild Publications, to be the associate editor for Women's Wear Daily and W magazine. In Paris, Fairchild had a staff of around 25, including 11 journalists. It was far and away the largest foreign bureau in Paris. Soon, I was the Paris bureau chief, overseeing WWD and W. Tony Duquette, 1940s. Being in charge of the Paris office was, in the world of Fairchild, quite a responsibility — writing and editing features, overseeing news coverage, engaging with the worlds of French cinema, art, music, and design. I lived in Paris for 10 years, from 1990 until 2000, a period that was essential for my development as a journalist and an author. The seeds of the biography. In January 2000, I was hired to be the fashion features director of Harper's Bazaar and moved back to New York. Not having lived in the United States for a decade, I felt that magazines did not write about many subjects outside of New York or Los Angeles. Because the 2000 presidential election was in the air, it seemed right to select Houston for the first subject in our series. So, I went down to see the city. I spent more than a week in Houston, meeting people and getting to know the city — it is rare to be able to devote that amount of time to reporting a story. Then, I went back to New York and presented everything to our editor — and came back to Houston with a photographer and stylist. Article to book proposal. Later, Fredericka Hunter told me that a book publisher in New York was interested in commissioning a biography of Dominique de Menil. I met with that editor and began working on a proposal. I read up on the subject of the de Menils and interviewed about a dozen of their friends and associates. When finished, the proposal was 25-pages long and over 12,000 words — already the longest piece I had ever written, at that point. On the dream editor. The daughter of legendary Hollywood producer Walter Wanger and actress Joan Bennett, Shelley Wanger is one of the most respected, serious editors in New York. She worked with John Richardson on his masterful multi-volume biography of Picasso, with Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan on their The author next to filing cabinets that hold 28 feet of storage, a vintage Cinni fan, files bursting with archival research, his own baby picture, and his parents' engagement photo. Desk corner with custom-made glasses by Maison Bonnet in Paris, a Louis Vuitton alligator agenda, and well-thumbed Rolodex. Custom bookcases by Modern Shelving (21 feet in length, eight feet high) hold a working library of 3,000 books. French bulldog and muse Hubert takes a nap.

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