Fashion Icons 2: Fashion Lives with Fern Mallis

No topic is off-limits for Fern Mallis, award-winning creator of New York Fashion Week, as she interviews some of the biggest names in fashion for her latest book, Fashion Icons 2: Fashion Lives with Fern Mallis. We talked to Fern about her conversations with the fashion industry's most talented and legendary personalities. 

Fashion Icons 2 will be available for purchase on 

Q. We loved Fashion Icons 1 and are excited about Fashion Icons 2. Can you tell us what inspired you to write a second volume in this series?
Immediately after the successful launch of my first book, Fashion Icons 1, everyone asked me to start working on a sequel. With the Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis conversation series ongoing at the 92nd Street Y it was hard to find the time to research and curate another book. In my pandemic quarantine, I rewatched the Fashion Icons conversations and kept hearing the same themes emerge. They were stories of successes, struggles, and the power of re-invention. The pandemic made sharing these stories more relevant than ever. While the rest of other world baked sourdough bread, I wrote a book.

Q. What was the most surprising story that you heard and included? 
There have been so many surprising moments in the 11-year history of the Fashion Icons series. I love when my guests start a story with, "I've never told this story to anyone before...."

Victoria Beckham shared how her father drove her to school in a Rolls Royce. She was so embarrassed by it that she made her father drop her off blocks away. Thanks to her mother, we actually have a photo of Victoria and that Rolls Royce in Fashion Icons 2.    

Stan Herman shared how he helped famed designer Arnold Scassi change his name. Scassi was born Arnold Isaacs, and his Jewish last name prevented him from working with General Motors on their new Cadillac. It was over a Passover dinner and Scrabble game, that Stan came up with the idea to spell Arnold's name backward. So, Arnold Isaacs became Arnold Scaasi.

Q. What do you hope readers learn from your conversations with these fashion icons about the industry?
I hope readers recognize how my conversations are about more than a season's collection or a label's name. This is the reader's chance to hear the Fashion Icons share their own stories, in their own voice: How did they become who they are? How did they build their business? How did they find the determination to keep going? 

My series is called a "masterclass" on how to make it in the fashion industry. I end every conversation with the question, "What advice do you have for the next generation of Fashion Icons in the room?" These conversations are intimate, authentic, unscripted, and very revealing.

Q. What's the best advice people have shared?
I think the best advice is that you really cannot go forward, without looking back. It is essential to understand how the industry has evolved and to benefit from the lessons learned from those who came before us. I am so honored that my books are in the Library of Congress. They say nothing in fashion lasts forever, but maybe the lessons in these books will.

Q. We're honored you chose to sell your book here at Nordstrom.
Why did you choose to sell this bundle with Nordstrom? What makes these events with Nordstrom special?

I chose to partner with Nordstrom on the Fashion Icons book series because of the brand's longstanding mission to be a champion for designers and their craft. There is no better way to learn the unique stories behind the "craft" of fashion, than from the Fashion Icons themselves. Between the two books included in the exclusive Fashion Icons Nordstrom book set, there are 34 Fashion Icons to learn from. Many of them sell their collections at Nordstrom.

I am so excited to go on the road with Nordstrom's Designer Fashion and Editorial Director Rickie De Sole to share these stories. Rickie has a unique perspective on Fashion Icons because she has worked closely with many of the guests included in the series. Fashion is very much a family business. I am so thankful to be part of the Nordstrom family.