In 1988, I was in my office at Spy magazine, in the Puck Building, on the northern edge of SoHo. I was about to turn 39, and—like today—I worked in a sea of younger editors, assistants, and interns who were all about half my age. To them, I was a dusty antiquity. I wasn’t as slim as I had been at 30—I wasn’t as slim as I had been at 38. There were flecks of gray here and there in my hair. And I was tired. Starting a new magazine—or a new anything, for that matter—is exhausting, and the hours and the exhilaration were beginning to take their toll. I felt like Nick Nolte in that arrest photo.
I was talking across a dividing wall to my partner Kurt Andersen when the phone rang. It was Susan Morrison, our deputy editor. She was on holiday in Europe, and in those days long-distance calls were not made lightly, or cheaply. Susan was a bit heated. She was speaking quickly, and the line was scratchy. I couldn’t quite make out what she was talking about. The words “Herald Tribune” and “best-dressed” came over the line. And then the connection cleared. “You’re on the International Best-Dressed List!” she shouted. “How do you know that?,” I asked. “Because,” she replied, “I just read it in the Herald Tribune!”