If you scorn fashion and designer names, disdain the Bridge on
a Thursday night, and prefer Marks and Spenser’s to Harrods,
avoid this book like the plague. If, however, you constitute part
of Oxford’s pashmina-wearing clique, buy it, along with a
notebook, a biro and some highlighters. Bergdorf Blondes is the
first novel by Plum Sykes – Worcester College graduate and
achingly trendy BrIt-Girl in New York, where she’s a
contributing editor at American Vogue. Oh, and she earned a
whopping $600,000 advance for the book. In the last few weeks,
she has appeared in every major newspaper in Britainsome people
love her; some people don’t. Bergdorf Blondesfollows the fortunes of Moi, the narrator, as
she lives the life of a fashionista – think Sex in the City
with more haute couture – and introduces us to a world of
private jets, Harry Winston diamonds, cads, labels, labels, more
labels, Park Avenue Princesses and millionaire heiresses.
Although it looks like Sykes is writing about the life she
herself loves to lead, there is a certain amount of sarcasm in
this book. I think. Surely there aren’t women who opt for a
caesarean section so that they ‘can pick the kid’s
birth-sign.’? After a while, you are not quite certain
whether Sykes is enchanted by the Society world, or repelled. She
certainly revels in it, though. Speaking of women she sees in
photographs, Moi asks herself, “how did women cope without
Bobbi Brown bronzer and Lancome’s Juicy Tubes for lips in
twelve shades?” Although it’s fun in its way, this is very much
‘chick-lit.’ By the end of it, I felt like I’d
been on a girl’s shopping trip for way too long. Some of the
references feel a bit incongruous – Proust and Plath sit
strangely alongside conversations about Vera Wang (she’s a
designer, dahling) or the absolute shame of owning a DVD player
and DVD (it shows that you don’t go out enough). By the
closing pages, I confess Moi and her circle of friends were
wearing thin, as were the innumerable descriptions of
‘cute’ men. But hey. I aint no chick. If you want a
glitzy, quilted and shining insight into the fairytales realm of
shopping and exotic boyfriends with their own jets, where parties
are judged on the sharpness of their folded napkins, and where
wearing last season’s Manolo Blahnik stilettos is social
self-flagellation, this is for you.ARCHIVE: 4th week TT 2004