Tina Brown kept delicious daily diaries throughout her eight spectacular years as editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair. Today they provide an incendiary portrait of the flash and dash and power brokering of the Excessive Eighties in New York and Hollywood.
The Vanity Fair Diaries is the story of an Englishwoman barely out of her twenties who arrives in New York City with a dream. Summoned from London in hopes that she can save Conde Nast’s troubled new flagship Vanity Fair, Tina Brown is immediately plunged into the maelstrom of the competitive New York media world and the backstabbing rivalries at the court of the planet’s slickest, most glamour-focused magazine company. She survives the politics, the intrigue, and the attempts to derail her by a simple stratagem: succeeding. In the face of rampant skepticism, she triumphantly reinvents a failing magazine.
Here are the inside stories of Vanity Fair scoops and covers that sold millions–the Reagan kiss, the meltdown of Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles, the sensational Annie Leibovitz cover of a gloriously pregnant, naked Demi Moore. In this cinematic audiobook, the drama, the comedy, and the struggle of running an “it” magazine come to life. Brown’s Vanity Fair Diaries is also a woman’s journey, of making a home in a new country and of the deep bonds with her husband, their prematurely born son, and their daughter.
The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown is an astute, open-hearted, and hilarious memoir about her time as the editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair magazine.
This memoir is an inspirational book for young women, but also readers who have an interest in fashion or who want to work in fashion one day. Tina is confident, capable and courageous, and she succeeds in transforming Vanity Fair from a troubled and struggling magazine to a dominant and successful one.
“We accepted Libby’s resignation as editor of Tatler because we realised that she didn’t have your two most important attributes.” Pause. “Your looks and your lifestyle.”
What? That’s what he attributes to my turning around a magazine? I truly cannot imagine any man being told such a thing.
Considering how young Tina was when she started editing Vanity Fair, it’s really fantastic to read about her journey and how she cast aside all the prejudice against her to produce this successful magazine.
The Vanity Fair Diaries, in addition to everything else, is a really fun, gossipy read.
“The social energy of the eighties in New York was ferocious.”
In the middle of this memoir are pages and pages of images and scans from Tina’s collection. There are magazine covers and spreads from some of the first few issues, and there are photos of Tina with Tatler and Vanity Fair in its early days. It really gives you a nostalgic feel to flick through those images.
“Adding another three spreads of Lartigue is a waste of space,” I said. “I have so much great stuff to get in this issue.”
“But where’s the glory?” he replied with sudden impatience. “My dear, a magazine must know how to waste space. You have no glory in this issue.”
What I found to be a struggle in this book was all the ‘inside’ information that was lost on me. She talks about connections and personalities and the hiring and firing of prominent people in fashion, and yet, I had no idea who any of those people were.
I think this book could’ve been edited down, with a lot of the diary entries culled from the final product. At times, it felt exhausting to read this because it moved at a glacial pace.
I recommend this book to fashion lovers, but also people interested in the social landscape of the 1980s. Tina remixed the Vanity Fair magazine and it’s really interesting to read about how she did that, but it’s also really fun to read about the dinners and the parties she went to. This book is not without it’s gossip.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Vanity Fair Diaries 1983-1992
Hachette Publishers Australia