In 2003, Lauren Weisberger published a thinly veiled account of her tenure as assistant to the editor in chief at Vogue.
In the final chapter, her heroine, Andy Sachs, cashes in on her torturous stint at “Runway” magazine by hawking “every last filmy top, leather pant, spiked boot, and strappy sandal” she had accumulated during her time there. But the proceeds — a whopping $38,000 — don't even begin to measure up to the loot that Weisberger scored for her debut novel, including a six-figure sum for the movie rights (the subsequent film starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep grossed over $300 million). Clearly, writing a roman a clef can be much more lucrative than working as an assistant at Conde Nast.
What “The Devil Wears Prada” lacked in writerly polish, it made up for with fascinating characters and a brutally, sometimes hilariously honest look at the fashion publishing industry and its quirks. Andy is back in this sequel, “Revenge Wears Prada,” pitted once again against her former boss, Miranda Priestly (based on the immaculately bobbed Vogue editor Anna Wintour).
But unfortunately, this second outing reads less like haute couture and more like Nordstrom Rack. The reader is tempted to assume that Weisberger had dollar signs in her eyes, rather than inspiration, when she wrote it.
(Full disclosure: I spent the summer of 2008 as an editorial intern at Vogue, where I was sent to Starbucks a gazillion times a day but suffered no worse ignominy than being forced to confess to a fashion editor that my dress was purchased at Target.)
“Revenge” is set 10 years later, and Andy is now editor in chief and part-owner of a hit bridal magazine she launched with her former Runway co-worker Emily. There are a number of problems with this setup, one being that Andy apparently managed to survive for a decade in New York City by working as a “contributing editor writing for a wedding blog.” But more troublesome is the name of the magazine, The Plunge. Andy describes it as “simple, dramatic, effortless,” but it sounds like something one might use to unblock a toilet.