Bergdorf Blondes

Bergdorf Blondes

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Bergdorf Blondes

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Bergdorf Blondes was the début novel of Plum Sykes, an English-born fashion writer and New York “it girl”. It was first published in the USA by Miramax Books, and in Britain by Viking, in 2004. Penguin published a paperback edition in 2005.

Bergdorf Blondes was a quirky and highly successful example of “chick lit”, selling more than a quarter of a million copies worldwide. It was set among the smart Park Avenue “in-crowd” of Upper Manhattan, New York, with which Plum Sykes herself was associated as a contributing editor of American Vogue. Among the 44 personal acknowledgements in Sykes’ preface, the first was of Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue who recruited Sykes from its British counterpart in the mid 1990s, and the last, the entrepreneur Toby Rowland, whom Sykes married in 2005.

The book and its context

Bergdorf Blondes is a satirical miscellany of high fashion and style a few years into the 21st century – three years after the terrorist attacks on New York of 11 September 2001, an event which is mentioned once, but impinges not at all. Its style of narration is similar to that of Carrie Bradshaw in Candace Bushnell’s Sex and the City (HBO 1998-2004), to which some reviewers saw Bergdorf Blondes as a successor.

As a story about an English woman moving in fashionable circles in New York, the narrator (“moi”), whose “personal bible” is Anita Loos’ novel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925), appears to owe something to Sykes herself. The other...
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