Amanda Brooks, who has worked at Hogan, Frédéric Fekkai and Tuleh and has been fashion director of Barneys New York, has a new book out called “Always Pack a Party Dress and Other Lessons Learned from a (Half) Life in Fashion,” and published by Blue Rider Press. Brooks has made a name for herself both with her professional accomplishments and her striking looks, and this colorful, savvy volume covers material from why women should always know how to do their own hair to how to set up a consulting business. Brooks, in fact, divides her time between the farm she shares in England’s Oxfordshire with her husband, two children and many animals, and New York as well as other fashion capitals. The title of the book derives from a trip to Miami she once made during which she was unexpectedly invited to attend Madonna’s birthday party.
Although Brooks’ ability to put a fashion look together is much admired, she doesn’t hesitate to describe — and show pictures of — outfits she wore to such events as the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala that didn’t work at all. And she details why. She shows the successful ones, too. Working at Barneys, she writes, had been a dream job, but it didn’t turn out the way she hoped. At the launch party for her book, held at the Prince Street J. Crew shop in Manhattan, she explained the advantages of her double life. “I just like the contrast,” she said. “Nobody ever invites you to dinner on a Tuesday. The weekends are kind of crazy.” Not long ago, she and her husband had become a little bored with country life, so they went to Venice for two nights.
Brooks now works as a consultant, and said the key to doing this successfully is in the mix of businesses she works with. “That’s so you have your own projects and you’re not representing any one client,” she said. “You can’t expect everybody to listen to you all the time.”