“Lost Splendor: The Amazing Memoirs of the Man Who Killed Rasputin”

There’s nothing as chic as a book about fashion decadence. But in a reversal of the usual trend where women like Diana Vreeland, Liz Tilberis and, ahem, Lauren Weisberger, have offered their take on what it’s like to be at the helm —...



There’s nothing as chic as a book about fashion decadence. But in a reversal of the usual trend where women like Diana Vreeland, Liz Tilberis and, ahem, Lauren Weisberger, have offered their take on what it’s like to be at the helm — or in the galley — of a fashion magazine, this season brings a distinctly male point of view.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have created an expensive scrapbook of sorts with “Hollywood” (Assouline), which celebrates their clothes and the glamorous celebs who wear them.

This story first appeared in the September 13, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In his next Vogue column, André Leon Talley, who knows plenty about decadence, gushes about the rerelease of “Lost Splendor: The Amazing Memoirs of the Man Who Killed Rasputin” (DAP), which was originally published in 1953. Talley may be onto something: What could be juicier than the story of Prince Felix Youssoupoff, a cross-dressing Russian aristocrat who poisoned Rasputin with cakes and Madeira “sprinkled with cyanide.” An excerpt, while you’re waiting for the Baby Phat show to start: “How was it that his piercing eyes had not noticed that I was holding a revolver behind my back, ready to point it at him?”

Though it includes commentary by Tama Janowitz and Jay McInerney, who famously captured the Eighties art and literary scenes in their respective novels, Patrick McMullan’s “So8os” (powerHouse) is a who’s who collection of party photographs, while it also documents the visual awakening of the wide-eyed nightlife photographer who “minored in Studio 54.”

In the simply and aptly titled “Autobiography” (Doubleday), Helmut Newton employs the genres of both memoir and photo essay to chronicle his transformation from a sexually obsessed boy in Nazi Germany into a sexually obsessed fashion photographer, albeit the most successful sexually obsessed fashion photographer of his time. Possible drinking game: Take a shot each time Newton describes having sex with a different woman.

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