|Born||December 24, 1943|
|Occupation||Journalist, fashion critic|
|Notable credit(s)||Vogue, The Times, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Harper's Bazaar|
Suzy Menkes, OBE (born 24 December 1943) is a British journalist and esteemed fashion critic. Formerly fashion editor for the International Herald Tribune, Menkes is now International Fashion Editor for nineteen international editions of Vogue online.
Menkes was born in the UK. She was educated at Brighton and Hove High School. As a teenager in the 1960s, she moved to Paris to study dressmaking at at the Chambre Syndicale fashion school. Her landlady gained her entry into her first couture show at Nina Ricci, which sparked her interest in high fashion. Menkes now lives in Paris, is widowed and has three sons and three granddaughters. She holds the Legion d'Honneur in France and a British OBE.
On her return from Paris, she read history and English literature at Newnham College, Cambridge while her sister studied at Oxford. After Cambridge, she worked for The Times reporting on fashion. In addition to her journalism, she has written several books, particularly on British Royal style.
Menkes professes to admire "good journalism", especially the work of Prudence Glynn at the Times of London and Eugenia Sheppard of the New York Herald Tribune. After leaving Cambridge in 1966, where she was the first woman who signed up to work for Varsity, the university's newspaper, she joined The Times as a junior reporter. At age 24, Menkes took her first job as a fashion journalist at the London Evening Standard, where she had been recruited by editor Charles Wintour, who became her mentor.
He really made me understand that as a fashion editor, or any other role at the paper, you are conduit to the public. You’re supposed to take in this information and then pass it on — that idea that, as a journalist, you’ve got to really take things in and then explain them in a way that’s comprehensible to other people.That’s the job.
Then, she joined the Daily Express, before returning to The Times, where she met her late husband and father of her three sons, David Spanier. She left The Times and joined The Independent in 1987, which she later left for the International Herald Tribune in 1988.
After 25 years commenting on fashion at The International Herald Tribune, she left in 2014 saying that:
The Tribune left me. It morphed [in 2013] into the International New York Times. New people came in; nothing felt the same. It was the ideal time to move, and my new job is a terrific idea because is there anything more international than fashion?
In 2015, Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of Condé Nast International appointed her the online voice of Vogue's international editions, working as "a critic and reporter on Vogue's websites across the world". She's also responsible for organizing Condé Nast International's annual Luxury Conference.
Menkes's trademark is her pompadour, an exaggerated hairstyle that was first popularized by Madame de Pompadour, the favorite mistress of King Louis XV, in the 18th century. She has been nicknamed "Samurai Suzy" by the fashion press for her frankness and taste for fashion maximalism.
In November 2009, she appeared as one of the judges on the finale of Lifetime TV series Project Runway. In 1996 she appeared in the second 'Last Shout' special in British comedy Absolutely Fabulous, playing herself.
Unlike many of her fashion counterparts, Menkes systematically refuses gifts from fashion brands. She openly criticized "The Circus of Fashion" in an article issued in the New York Times in 2013, denouncing the attitude of bloggers and stars followers of street style and dressed like "peacocks" to draw the attention of the photographers during Fashion Week.
During her marriage, she converted to Judaism, and now refrains from attending fashion shows that take place on Holy days. Accessible and curious, Menkes has a reputation of being eager to discuss fashion with young designers. "Like a slightly mad auntie, she is," Kate Moss told the New Yorker in the magazine's 2003 profile of Menkes.
In fashion circles, Menkes is known for her sharp critiques, both positive and negative. In the 1990s, she caused a stir by declaring that Chanel's iconic quilted handbag was "over". In response, the company took out a full page ad in the Tribune refuting her claim. In 2008, she chastised Marc Jacobs for having delayed his runway show by two hours. She is also known for having fostered Nicolas Ghesquière as a fledgling designer, and for predicting the departure of Martin Margiela from Maison Martin Margiela.
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (November 2012)|
Unlike the delicate relationship often shared between fashion houses and designers, with the fashion media and journalists, Menkes has a reputation within the fashion industry for being much loved by all for both her personality and her reviews of fashion shows, considered to be fair and balanced. A designer once refused to invite her to his show due to taking offense at some negative comments she had made in a previous collection review (though she did give positive comments as well). She is responsible for launching several careers in fashion, including successful handbag designer Pauric Sweeney.
- How to be a Model, Suzy Menkes. Sphere, 1969, ISBN 0722160364
- Knitwear Revolution: Designer Patterns to Make, Suzy Menkes. Penguin USA, 1985. ISBN 0-14-046695-9
- The Windsor Style, Suzy Menkes. Salem House, 1987. ISBN 0-246-13212-4
- The Royal Jewels, Suzy Menkes. Contemporary Books, 1990. ISBN 0-8092-4315-6.
- Queen and Country, Suzy Menkes. Harpercollins, 1993. ISBN 0-246-13676-6
- Hussein Chalayan, Hussein Chalayan, Caroline Evans, Suzy Menkes. NAI, 2005. ISBN 90-5662-443-1
- Manolos new’s shoes,Suzy Menkes. Thames &Hudson Ltd, 2010
- Fashion Antwerp Academy 50, Suzy Menkes.Lannoo,2013
- The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk,Suzy Menkes.Harry N.Abrams, 2001
- Jazz Age Fashion: Dressed to Kill, Suzy Menkes, Daisy Bates, Virgiia Bates. Rizzoli,2013.
- XL-FASHION DESIGNERS A-Z, Steele, Valerie, Suzy Menkes. Taschen, 2013.
- XL-FASHION DESIGNERS A-Z MISSO, Steele, Valerie, Suzy Menkes. Taschen,2013.
- XL-FASHION DESIGNERS A-Z PRADA, Steele, Valerie, Suzy Menkes.Taschen, 2012.
- XL- FASHION DESIGNERS A-Z AKR, Steele, Valerie, Suzy Menkes.Taschen,2012.
- XL-FASHION DESIGNERS A-Z ETRO,Steele, Valerie, Suzy Menkes.Taschen,2012.
- XL-FASHION DESIGNERS A-Z STELL, Stelle, Valerie, Suzy Menkes. Taschen, 2012
- Valentino, Matt Tyrnauer, Suzy Menkes.Taschen, 2009
- Knitwear Revolution: Designer Patterns to Make, Suzy Menkes. Penguin Books,1985
- Dolls For The Princesses: The Story Of France And Marianne , Suzy Menkes, Faith Eaton. Royal Collection Enterprises, 2005
- How to be a Model, Suzy Menkes.Sphere,1969
- International Herald Tribune biography (PDF)
- Suzy Menkes
- Profile interview of Menkes by John Seabrook, The New Yorker, 17 March 2001
- Profile of Menkes, Varsity newspaper, Cambridge University, 25 November 2005, p. 11 (.pdf file)