Jenna Sauers

  • Wore Stories

    In a memorable scene from Sheila Heti’s 2010 novel, How Should a Person Be?, the protagonist buys the same dress as her friend Margaux, which causes an argument via email: “after we looked at a thousand dresses for you—and the yellow dress being the first dress i was considering—i really was surprised when you said you were getting it too,” writes an angry Margaux. “i think it’s pretty standard that you don’t buy the dress your friend is buying.”

    This seemingly mundane disagreement over a dress—and over a symbolic claim to originality in an area where women are so scrutinized—encapsulates much

  • interviews July 11, 2012

    Bookforum talks to Kate Zambreno

    Kate Zambreno is the author of the novels O Fallen Angel and Green Girl and of the forthcoming memoir-slash-literary-investigation of the overlooked women of Modernism, Heroines, She also finds time to write the excellent blog, Frances Farmer Is My Sister, Green Girl revolves around Ruth, a young American girl who’s working as a temp at a London department store (which she always refers to as Horrid’s).

    Kate Zambreno is the author of the novels O Fallen Angel and Green Girl and of the forthcoming memoir-slash literary investigation of the overlooked women of Modernism, Heroines. She also finds time to write the excellent blog, Frances Farmer Is My Sister. Green Girl revolves around Ruth, a young American girl who’s working as a temp at a London department store (which she always refers to as Horrid’s). Ruth is kind of aimless; we don’t know a lot about the substance of her life. We know that her mother is dead and she isn’t in regular contact with her father. She doesn’t have any real friends

  • Holiday Escapism

    Almost every catalogue has a gimmick. The oddball prose and hand illustrations of J. Peterman. The sub–Ryan McGinley photography and adolescent moodiness of Urban Outfitters. The saddle-stitched punch line that is International Male. Effective mail-order catalogues are all about fantasy: They offer us the opportunity to project ourselves into a ready-made lifestyle, maybe one where we have a gamine haircut and make occasional trips to Paris (Anthropologie) or one where we unwind from our high-powered jobs by entertaining our sophisticated friends with elaborate meals (Williams-Sonoma). Catalogues

  • Leather Report

    “To be Prada is to be perfect in every way,” reads one of the few examples of actual prose in Prada (Abrams, $125), the luxury-goods company’s latest and largest coffee-table book. It’s an image-heavy tome about image, and words are relegated to captions. The form makes clear what no corporate-authorized text could be expected to state outright: Prada, no differently from any other global brand, traffics in image.

    Few companies seem as riven with contradictions as Prada. While its products are called “luxury,” it remains best known for a line of leather-trimmed black nylon handbags that were