Text Carlo Mazzoni
On Friday 11 May Lampoon goes to Turin for the International Book Fair to talk about a novel that was first published in 1958, sixty years ago. From that moment on, this simple novella was to bring all the liberty and hazards that were New York to the world at large.
In 1957, David Attie was thirty-six years old. He was an illustrator of posters, billboards and covers and was having a hard time of it; newspapers were shifting from drawings to photos, with the streets of Soho and the Village a magnet attracting wild, love-struck artists, a crowd of variegated, multi-coloured people. David enrolled in a photography course held by Alexey Brodovitch, art director and designer, who is said to have created the first double-page layout.
While developing the film from his very first assignment, David realized he had overexposed all the images by accident: they were too bright to produce even a single usable image. His lesson with Brodovitch was the following day so, in an attempt to salvage a potential disaster, he assembled one on top of another in a ploy that was all transparency and layers. Brodovitch thought it was ingenious. He hired David to illustrate a novella by Truman Capote that was to be published in Harper’s Bazaar the following July – not bad for a beginner’s first job. David worked on it for two months and Capote was happy with the result.
The directors of Hearst, the publishers of Harper’s Bazaar, asked Capote to change his story and his language just a little – it told of a girl who went to bed with men for money. Capote did as asked because he liked David Attie’s photos. He edited his tale – but they were still not happy at Hearst. Tiffany was one of the magazine’s most important advertising partners and they feared it might not be best pleased with the plot.
So, Capote gave his story to Esquire, still insisting that they use Attie’s photos and it was published in the November issue. It makes us smile today, to think that, in the entire history of publishing, there has never been such a powerful advertisement for Tiffany as the one gifted by Capote with his book. And not just Tiffany, but Fifth Avenue and New York in particular and all the beauty of America in general.
Tulips, hyacinths, all kinds of Dutch bulbs, around the trunks of the linden trees, on the corners of steps, set against the vanity of selfish wisteria – whether it is a scene by Bret Easton Ellis or Rihanna getting out at the Metropolitan – springtime in New York has you falling in love. Girls go to bed with everyone but you, that’s the way it is. You are lying reading on a bench in the shade, not far from a basketball court, in Sullivan Street. New York: reading about it in books, seeing it in films, dreaming of living there. In order to dream, you need to fall asleep, let your photos lighten – a smile and consolation: the most beautiful story of all is still a novel that finishes in a rainstorm in pursuit of a cat.
Luca Beatrice, Circolo dei Lettori Torino president and art critic;
Evelina Christillin, Museo Egizio di Torino president, Enit president;
Piero Negri, La Stampa journalist;
Paola Stroppiana, journalist;
Enrico Remmert, writer.
Raffaella Banchero, Tiffany & Co. Italy and Spain CEO
Carlo Mazzoni, The Fashionable Lampoon Editorial director
A project made possible with Tiffany & Co.
Part of the official programming
Salone OFF – Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino
With the support of American Express