It’s funny that my pal Andrea Linett’s funny, clever fashion memoir is called I Want to be Her, since I’ve never had another friend whose sense of style has been more envied, coveted, or closely studied than hers. She just knows how to throw things together, as some people do. And I would never try to pull off that very specifically Andrea-branded slickified rock chick/French fashion editor/hippie chick look of hers even for a moment. It is always best, in matters such as this, to simply look and learn.
This is pretty much the message of I Want to be Her, which tells the story of the many and varied women who shaped and influenced Andrea’s sense of style. The range is impressive and unpredictable. We’ve got:
Francine, the beautiful French babysitter Andrea found quite bohemian, even though she was not yet certain what bohemian meant.
Lisa Bonet as Denise Huxtable. And also as Lisa Bonet.
Mandy, A girl Andrea met at college who had a huge Vuitton Speedy bag and wore grey sweatpants so perfect that Andrea suspected they’d been professionally altered.
And the mysterious stranger, spied briefly on the street in Easthampton, who was dressed quite simply, but had two tattoos of green snakes, one on either side of her face right next to her ear. ”Was this woman a former Marrakesh hippie? Did she used to hang out with Jim Morrison? Was she covering up face-lift scars?” Andrea wrote. “Although I am confident that I will never in a million years want tattoos on my face, there was something about her individuality that inspired me.”
While it was of course fun to see so many people who were part of both of our lives—from our time at Sassy, where we met in the late 80s, to the years we spent together at Lucky—that wasn’t my favorite part of the book. What I appreciated most, aside from the fact that it’s probably the most unpretentious fashion memoir ever written, is its value as a piece of pop cultural history. Anyone who came of age in the late 70s and early 80s—or whose universes were in any way altered by The Brooke Book, Fiorucci, Bow Wow Wow, Sun-In or Leif Garret —will be utterly charmed.