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Rachel Comey Collaborates With the New York Review of Books

Inside the packed Rachel Comey store on Crosby Street in SoHo on Thursday, the readings began about halfway through the evening. When the crowd applauded for the memoirist Vivian Gornick, who read from her book “Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-Reader,” she made an observation about her somewhat unfamiliar audience: “So it’s not just clothes, it’s also books that turn you on.”

Indeed. This was a fashion event that had perhaps an unusually high concentration of writers in attendance. Many wore Comey designs from their closets, printed jackets and tall boots, as well as the dresses, tops and pants that are part of the designer’s collaboration with The New York Review of Books, the literary magazine edited by Emily Greenhouse and art directed by Leanne Shapton, a longtime friend and creative partner of Ms. Comey’s.

Fashion and literature might make an unexpected pairing, but it is one with some recent precedent. The author Ottessa Moshfegh wrote flash fiction for Proenza Schouler’s fall 2022 collection, and models like Kendall Jenner and Kaia Gerber often display their current reading as part of their off-duty style. This was the latest flirtation between the fashion and literary worlds, a courtship in which each party gets to extract a bit of social capital from the other. That might explain the touch of self-consciousness in the air, with writers seeming more aware of their outfits than usual.

We asked some of the attendees — many of whom work in the magazine and publishing worlds — what they were reading and whether good taste in books could translate into great taste in clothes, too.

Interviews have been edited.

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