Lunch with Judith Thurman

Having shared with the world my nervousness about what to wear to lunch in the same room as Judith Thurman I was reassured to find Ms Thurman, a self confessed ‘inveterate thrifter’, was in fact wearing something she had sourced at the Council of Jewish Women Thrift Store.

It was Saint Laurent however and she was wearing it well. Saint Laurent was something of a theme – in her student days Thurman spent an entire week’s wages on a Saint Laurent skirt she is sure is still out there in Thrift Store land, and she got to go to his farewell show in Paris, front row just down from Catherine Deneuve. Sigh.

Zambesi’s Liz Findlay did the introduction and asked all the questions I wanted to hear the answers to. Rei Kawakubo was not a big talker (two words was her being forthcoming) but they bonded over cats; Thurman has actually seen the Balenciaga archives and the curator turned the clothes inside out – New Zealand curators of shows featuring clothes take note.

Thurman believes that lots of these clothes and the prices that went with them belong to a world we have all just left, and that it will be interesting to see what happens next.

As for the history of fashion, go to the photographers like Penn and Avedon – they were the guys who chose what made it into the magazines.

And the unique institution that is The New Yorker is in good heart – it’s still a place where people stay ’til 2 a.m. moving commas around and while print magazines can still be moulded to the reader but screens demand the reader adapt to them it will be for a while yet.