Gentlewoman style at its finest: Fran Lebowitz
We all need a laugh right now and the new Fran Lebowitz series Pretend It’s a City by Martin Scorsese, on Netflix, is a delight. The writer and raconteur is hilarious on what she loves and hates (but mostly the latter) about living in New York. From lawn chairs in Times Square to pedestrians coming down the street looking at their mobile phones and not where they’re going, ‘Basically, the only person looking where they’re going in this city is me,’ says the 70-year-old author in conversation with her old friend Marty, ‘Pretend it’s a City – where there are other people…’ And so this becomes the title of her manifesto on how to live in a metropolis. Filmed in 2019 before the pandemic, the series includes guest speaking events as well as other recorded interviews with Spike Lee, Alec Baldwin and Toni Morrison. I’d love to hear Lebowitz’s complaints about joggers barrelling down the pavement, panting all over everyone in lockdown…
Each of the seven episodes has a theme: books, money, wellness, music – there’s a fantastic tale about going to see the jazz musician Charles Mingus. Lebowitz admits that the first thing she’d change about New York would be the subway system, ‘The L Train was closed because there was a foul odour – I mean how much worse could it smell? Who even noticed it?’
As well as the gift of the gab, Lebowitz has a great line in uniform dressing. The signature rolled-up jeans (I think they’re Levi’s 501s) worn with cowboy boots and a Savile Row blazer. She shows off her gold swirly cufflinks designed by Alexander Calder in one episode – and I would’ve loved a segment on her style, Scorsese missed a trick. In an interview with the FT’s How To Spend It Lebowitz talks about her penchant for having Anderson & Sheppard jackets made on Savile Row, ‘They said they didn’t make clothes for women, and that they’ve only ever made clothes for one woman, and that was Marlene Dietrich. So that was kind of a conversation stopper. But a woman who gets discouraged by being turned down once is a woman you’ve never heard of.’
This is gentlewoman style at its finest.
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More on Fran Lebowitz’s style HERE.