Fern Mallis recalls most memorable 92 Y talks
Tom Ford sat on the tip of his seat so his outfit didn't crease during his 90-minute interview with Fern Mallis.
Fern has enjoyed a lengthy career in fashion, having been the executive director of the CFDA and created New York Fashion Week. Since 2011 she's been hosting lengthy discussions with designers at New York's 92nd Street Y, under the banner Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis.
These feature in a new book about the interviews, with Fern talking about some of the most memorable as she promotes it.
"Norma [Kamali] was a delight. I mean Calvin [Klein] was great. I loved Tommy's [Hilfiger] interview. I have emails from people who wrote to me that they came to Tommy's not prepared to like him, and walked out of there and said, 'Oh my God, I'm in love with this man, what an incredible business he created, and look what he's accomplished,'" she recalled to harpersbazaar.com. "Michael Kors is a scream. Tom Ford, I mean, he sat at the edge of his seat the whole hour and a half to not wrinkle his suit."
Fern won't say who her favourite has been as she doesn't want to offend anyone, but she is more than happy to discuss key moments.
She noted people "could hear a pin drop" when Diane von Furstenberg spoke about her mother being in a concentration camp, while in contrast, Betsey Johnson wanted to keep things pretty light.
"I couldn't keep her in her seat: 'Betsey please sit down, please sit down so we can keep talking, and stop taking clothes off,'" Fern recalled.
Both Michael Kors and Isaac Mizrahi had her laughing so hard she believes they could be stand-up comedians, but there were touching moments too. Fern interviewed late designer Oscar de la Renta - who passed away following a battle with cancer last year - and he spoke about the illness.
"Oscar, I was kind of nervous asking him about his health and his cancer. And then for him, I think he was very happy to acknowledge that and at that point he was in remission, but to talk about what that meant and how it changed his life; to be able to publicly thank his wife who was in the audience," she explained. "He said he couldn't have gotten through the last couple years without her support, and everything she's done. It was lovely."