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The Asylum: A collage of couture…
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The Asylum: A collage of couture reminiscences...and hysteria

by Simon Doonan

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Very thin, and not just in page count. ( )
  picardyrose | Feb 2, 2015 |
I needn’t have worried. My lack of knowledge, not to say interest, in the fashion world didn’t matter one bit in this fast paced, clever, self effacing/aggrandizing collection of stories from the trenches. The very wackiness of fashion makes for a self defining bizarre cast of characters, and Doonan has met, admired, tangled with and/or insulted them all. It’s a riotous trip through a world that sets its own rules. A world where not only do cranks, misfits and manic depressives fit in, but which caters to them as no other.

It begins with a delightful comparison: Doonan’s world of fashion, versus his friend’s world of the institutionalized insane. Which one is crazier? Doonan describes some new fashion, and his friend counters that she has patients who say, wear or espouse the same thing. They get locked away for it. Doonan’s people redefine fashion with it. It ends in a clear decision – a tie.

It’s onward and upward from there, as Simon Doonan proves to be a great storyteller. The very gayness of his style helps him get away with sarcasm, shots, stabs and otherwise unforgiveable strings of adjectives and metaphors - that really move the narrative. You never know what’s on the next page, let alone the next story. Fortunately, there are 25 of them, so you can take the medicine in doses as large or as small as your capacity to enjoy will handle.

The characters are all real, which adds to the fright factor. Only in fashion could these outliers, these certifiables, succeed and flourish. Doonan acknowledges it, (hell, he dotes on it) and gives his gratitude for it, in numerous places throughout. It makes for a rich environment that Damon Runyon would approve.

The namedropping is carpetbombing; it’s everything you would expect of fashionista memoirs. There is a story for every larger than life character. And as acid as the stories might seem, they are also hugely affectionate. This is a lifetime love affair with a halfcrazed paramour.

At a few points, Doonan takes himself seriously, scoring points about various people, and what the industry is and is not accomplishing for society. And then he’ll turn around and dismiss himself with “You have to admit, my sweeping generalizations are always so much more exciting than facts.” So you have to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight. ( )
  DavidWineberg | Jun 20, 2013 |
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Catherine Deneuve is walking around West London with a skinned rabbit in her purse.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399161899, Hardcover)

Simon Doonan, “the David Sedaris of the style universe” (The Boston Globe), pens a hilarious collection of autobiographical essays in this bitingly funny valentine to the fashion industry.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:05 -0400)

"Humorous essays about the fashion industry"--

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