A lot is changing in the fashion industry too
through the #MeToo movement. Do you think an end to sexual
harassment and abuse in fashion is on the horizon?
One certainly hopes so. These issues run very, very deep. Given
how pervasive and systemic they are, nothing can be fixed
overnight. But we have to persist. The design industries in
general—home, interiors, fashion—are filled with such a
diverse population that includes ethnicity and sexual orientation.
The design industries are much more tolerant because of this. It's
existed forever, it's nothing unusual. The calling out of these
abuses is also nothing new—people have been doing it, but it
was falling on deaf ears. Finally, people are waking up.
I'm reflecting upon the most tumultuous decade in design in
terms of social and cultural upheaval—the 1960s. What's
happening now takes me right to that decade.
How do you get your news?
I have a digital subscription to The New York Times. I read that
for way too long every day. It's so easy to get saturated, to be
completely consumed by this, that I limit my digital
Do you spend time on social media?
I have to confess to you, since the situation in Washington,
D.C., I have infrequently been on social media. The last time I was
on social media was Instagram. I was at the Metropolitan Opera
seeing Wagner's "Parsifal" and was so overcome with emotion at the
triumph of the human spirit that I had to share. I have Twitter and
Facebook accounts, but I use them infrequently.
When not mentoring, what are you doing?
I'm writing a new book that's actually an extension of an op-ed
piece I wrote for The Washington Post last fall about how the
fashion industry and the retail industry have turned their backs on
women larger than a size 12. That was the summary of the op-ed, but
the book is about the evolution of perceptions of beauty and
sexuality over millennia because it changes so dramatically. We're
in a moment now that I hope we will evolve out of—the
celebration of being unnaturally skinny. It's not a good message to
send to anyone, but especially young women. And there's a very
pronounced rise in eating disorders among young men now. It's how
we portray our physical preference through media and it's
How long have you been working on the
For months. I'm up to 40,000 words and I need at least 80,000.
That means probably 100,000 because they'll be slicing and dicing
through all of it.
What's your takeaway style tip for spring
People get so frustrated with me because I don't chase trends.
But in working with 3M, we've been working on trends in fashion and
interiors. We know that florals are in.