What a fashion editor’s assistant buys for her boss
“Assistantis a bit of a catch-all term. Sure, assistants schedule meetings, take notes, and pick up coffee, but they can also act as a quasi-concierge, sending fruit baskets to top clients and buying gifts for partners. In an effort to uncover the very specific material needs of powerful people, we sat down with 25-year-old “Leah,” who has spent much of the past two years working as an executive assistant for one of the most powerful and recognizable. fashion magazine editors working today. We spoke with her about the stationery at prices on request, the exclusive Milanese pastries and the famous hair-enhancing dry shampoo that her renowned boss kept in reserve.
Leah’s boss is very good at nurturing relationships, and “gifts are part of that,” she says. Leah quickly learned that the size of the gift always depended on how important the connection was. In practice, that meant spending more time and effort giving gifts to people in her boss’ life who might prove useful (like a “difficult celebrity she might want to do on the cover”) rather than to those with whom she simply felt compelled to keep in touch. . The latter group would receive the ever-beautiful-but-standard floral arrangements, not the “let me do three hours of research” type gifts.
Most often, Leah says she would order white roses or peonies from florist Michael George, spending around $200 per arrangement. If the flowers were for someone even more special — cover stars, actors, musicians, models, designers and guests on the publisher’s reality TV show — Leah would call floral designer Nicolas Cogrel. Cogrel staff would tell him what was in stock, prepare an arrangement, then send a photo to the editor team for approval. Sometimes her boss would comment on the color or placement of the flowers, but generally she trusted Cogrel’s judgment because “they’re very good at their job for a reason.”
Leah’s boss sent handwritten notes as standard practice, always on monogrammed cards specially commissioned by Cartier. A Cartier spokesperson told us that the house only sells bespoke stationery from its Fifth Avenue flagship, and that service involves collaborating with the customer on the look and feel of its stationery. letter writing. A traditional set of ten standard engraved cards and envelopes is $230, while a custom job can vary in price depending on the weight of paper chosen, embossing, etc.
One season, during Milan Fashion Week, the editor brought back a box of these pastries, asking Leah to send them to one of her good friends. Leah says the editor carried the box by hand herself and managed to avoid the breakage of the cookies by asking the hotel for bubble wrap. (Impressive, considering the variety pack of 12 types of pastries weighs nearly 20 pounds.)
[Editor’s note: Pasticceria Marchesi lists its prices in euros, so this is an approximation to U.S. dollars.]
During the holidays, Leah’s boss sometimes tasked her with sending panettone from Sant Ambroeus, the legendary Milanese restaurant in New York. Described as “a delicately sweet sourdough bread traditionally filled with candied oranges, lemon zest and raisins”, the festively wrapped domed treat would be picked up by Leah and delivered to friends and acquaintances via the publishing company’s private messaging service. Leah says no more than three panettones would be given away per holiday period (the only time they’re available), because her boss liked to diversify the gifts. According to Leah, the Sant Ambroeus location on Madison Avenue was also a popular spot for editor’s breakfasts, usually with industry contacts (and always with a specific agenda). “I don’t think she would waste her time if there was no chance of a deal,” she says.
As part of its virtual fashion show during COVID, Gucci offered guests CSA boxes from New York food supplier Farm to People. After this presentation, Leah’s boss started sending occasional produce instead of flowers. This exchange reflected the pandemic-induced changes the publisher has made to its giveaway customs. While Leah’s boss had always wanted to show she’d thought about a giveaway, during COVID “there was definitely a bigger emphasis placed on it,” Leah says, adding that the publisher has stepped up its game even further. personalized notes. when it came to checking out friends. It also meant choosing relatively affordable and “safer” gifts that she knew the recipient would like (she “didn’t want to go out on a limb and order something crazy”), over a higher-priced item that might not be the easiest to exchange or return, especially if sent to Los Angeles or the Hamptons.
Despite having access to an endless supply of free beauty products (and a steady stream of branded freebies), Leah’s boss demanded only one hair product available to her at all times (plus a non-styling item).
Because Leah’s boss is known for her hair, the only personal styling product she had to keep on hand was this Oribe dry shampoo. Leah says the editor tried to hide at least one can in every bag she carried to add shine and keep her blowout fresh between appointments. The editor did a color and cut every three to four weeks and worked with two or three stylists for major events.
Leah says she kept Hershey’s Kisses and mini Reese’s Cups in stock so her boss could grab a handful when she walked out of her office. And because Leah herself became very aesthetically conscious while working with the editor, she would stick to the original silver kisses rather than venture into seasonal colors.
The strategist is designed to surface the most useful expert recommendations on things to buy in the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural remedies for anxietyand bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that offers may expire and all prices are subject to change.