Some of My Lives: A Scrapbook Memoir

Rosamond Bernier. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-374-26661-5
Early Vogue fashion editor and accomplished lecturer on modern art, Bernier (Matisse, Picasso, Miro—As I Knew Them) reminisces about the famous artists she has known throughout a full, rich career, from Mexico to Paris. Although Bernier was born in Philadelphia in 1916, her mother was English, and Bernier rarely lived in the U.S. until after the 1970s, when she made a second career as an itinerant lecturer. Her first marriage took her to Acapulco, Mexico, and in short, snappy chapters she recounts dishy anecdotes about acquaintances Jane and Paul Bowles, the drunken Malcolm Lowry, and the jealous couple Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Through her friendship with Nada Patcevitch, wife of the "guiding spirit" at Condé Nast, Iva Patcevitch, Bernier managed to wangle several job offers at once at New York Vogue and ended up reporting on fashion under Babs Rawlings, then "swerved" into covering the Parisian art scene using legendary photographers like Irving Penn during the creative post-WWII years. The names Bernier drops are jaw-dropping—Matisse got a gander of her Balenciaga full-length orange coat and suggested, "Wear a yellow scarf with it"; Philip Johnson staged her wedding to English art critic John Russell at MoMA in 1975—but she is ever demure and unpretentious. These precious remembrances prove a tremendous record. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 05/30/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
Paperback - 292 pages - 978-1-250-01397-2
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-9505-4
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