Tales from the Back Row: An Outsider's View from Inside the Fashion Industry Info

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A keenly observed collection of personal essays about what
it’s like to be a young woman working in the fashion industry, Amy
Odell’s Tales from the Back Row offers “a backstage
pass to the intimidating, backbiting industry” (US
Weekly
).

In the “funny, insightful”
(Harper’s Bazaar) Tales from the Back Row,
Cosmopolitan.com editor Amy Odell takes readers behind the stage of New
York’s hottest fashion shows to meet the world’s most
influential models, designers, celebrities, editors, and
photographers.

But first, she has to push her way through the
crowds outside and weave her way through the packed venue, from the very
back row to the front. And as Amy climbs the ladder (with tips about
how you can, too), she introduces an industry powered by
larger-than-life characters: she meets the intimidating Anna Wintour and
the surprisingly gracious Rachel Zoe, not to mention the hilarious
Chelsea Handler, and more.

As she describes the allure of
Alexander Wang’s ripped tights and Marchesa’s Oscar-worthy
dresses, Amy layers in something else: how the fashion industry is an
exaggerated mirror of human fallibility—reflecting our desperate
desire to belong, to make a mark. In her “light-hearted,
cocktail-hour confession from someone who is…sober enough to
recognize insanity for what it is” (The Washington Post),
Amy is the first to admit that as much as she is embarrassed by the
thrill she gets when she receives an invitation to an exclusive
after-party, she can’t help but RSVP “yes.” Welcome to
the weird and wonderful world of high fashion: “Whether
you’re interested in pursuing a career in publishing, public
relations, or design, or you’re just fascinated with what
really goes on behind-the-scenes without the usual sugarcoating,
we’d say this is required reading” (Fashionista.com).

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Tales from the Back Row: An Outsider's View from Inside the Fashion Industry:

3

Aug 15, 2015

Book provided by publisher in exchange for honest review

I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this book up but I actually really enjoyed it. It was pretty funny and really insightful into the fashion industry. I couldn't really relate to anything and fashion isn't something I'm interested so it felt more educational then fun to me but I did learn a lot and I really enjoyed reading Tales from the Back Row. I highly recommend it if you like fashion or are interested the fashion industry.
2

Sep 30, 2016

meh....fun title, but pretty boring. Which is too bad because I thought it would be so much better!! I'm looking at reviews...kinda perplexed as to who the recommended audience should be??

I like fashion...or shall I say I like clothes!!!! I'm not super all over fashion coverage, I don't really read fashion mags, don't care about designers or fashion week, but I read a handful of fashion blogs.

this book really gave me no extra insight - you can watch a few tv shows or read a few articles and get meh....fun title, but pretty boring. Which is too bad because I thought it would be so much better!! I'm looking at reviews...kinda perplexed as to who the recommended audience should be??

I like fashion...or shall I say I like clothes!!!! I'm not super all over fashion coverage, I don't really read fashion mags, don't care about designers or fashion week, but I read a handful of fashion blogs.

this book really gave me no extra insight - you can watch a few tv shows or read a few articles and get the gist of how the fashion world plays out - for me this book did not add anything to it. Plus it just wasn't that exciting or witty..boo hoo. Ok maybe I learned a tid bit or 2 about Karl Lagerfeld and certain designers who apparently rule the world - so it's not a loss! :) ...more
4

Sep 01, 2015

I have received a copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review!

Tales From the Back Row: An Outsider's View from Inside the Fashion Industry by Amy Odell is an interesting, witty and fast paced read about the New York fashion industry.

The moment I have received the book I immediately started reading and it was really hard to put it down. At first I didn't know what to expect, but Amy's writing style was really capturing, fun and easy to follow.

In this book Amy shares some pretty I have received a copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review!

Tales From the Back Row: An Outsider's View from Inside the Fashion Industry by Amy Odell is an interesting, witty and fast paced read about the New York fashion industry.

The moment I have received the book I immediately started reading and it was really hard to put it down. At first I didn't know what to expect, but Amy's writing style was really capturing, fun and easy to follow.

In this book Amy shares some pretty interesting and insightful secrets from the fashion industry. The book is divided into small chapter. Each chapter focuses on different aspects of the industry. For example Bloggers, Editors, Celebrities and Models.

As I mentioned before Amy's writing style was easy to follow. I never got lost or confused, everything was written out really well.

It is a must read for those who are interested in the industry and fashion. But it also is a book for those you just want to get a better picture of what it is really like to work in the fashion world.

I hardly ever read non-fiction books, but I am really glad that I did read Tales From the Back Row. It might even make it on my Top 15 of 15 list.
...more
2

May 20, 2015

Although I am usually interested in behind the scenes accounts of industries alien to me, this is just a chatty and obnoxious memoir of being a fashion blogger, acting dumb at shows, borrowing stuff from sample closets and once buying designer sweatpants while high.
3

May 26, 2015

ARC for review.

A nice little piece about someone who might have started as an outsider but quickly found a nice little niche within the fashion industry. The blurb says "ultimately this book is about how the fashion industry is an exaggerated mirror of human fallibility-reflecting our desperate desire to belong, to make a mark, to be included," and I guess that if you squint really hard you'll see some of that here, but it's mostly just anecdotes of fashion events strung together to make a book ARC for review.

A nice little piece about someone who might have started as an outsider but quickly found a nice little niche within the fashion industry. The blurb says "ultimately this book is about how the fashion industry is an exaggerated mirror of human fallibility-reflecting our desperate desire to belong, to make a mark, to be included," and I guess that if you squint really hard you'll see some of that here, but it's mostly just anecdotes of fashion events strung together to make a book - fun, but not a serious examination of the fashion industry by any means (and, don't get me wrong....I wasn't looking for one). It's just that the blurb takes itself far more seriously than the book does (mirroring the blue sweater speech from "The Devil Wears Prada"). We get it - fashion is a huge business and to that extent it must be taken seriously, but within the first two pages one Emily Graff (the editor) nearly chastises the reader twice and would do well to remember that this is a book about attending fashion shows - not about the art of a Yves Saint Laurent or a Coco Chanel. Lighten up, Francis!

So, two days in to her new career and she's already attending fashion shows. Nice. Odell serves up the requisite amount of insider dish (Claire Danes, Harvey Weinstein, Kirsten Dunst, Rachel Weisz and Julianne Moore have either personally been hateful to Odell or have a bad rep (sigh, et tu, Julianne Moore?), while Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel Zoe and Jay Z were all quite kind). And while she spends a bit too much time on a pair of designer sweatpants and once (gasp!) wearing a dress without a bra, she also goes into detail about her interview with the Bible (and by that I mean Vogue, of course) and the farce that is the Victoria's Secret "fashion show."

This is definitely one of those books where you'll know right away whether you are interested in the subject matter. The book is fine, but probably would have worked better as a series of articles versus a book.

...more
2

Jan 02, 2016

As another outsider who once had an inside view of the industry (I worked at a regional fashion/lifestyle for 5 years), I was really excited to pick up Tales from the Back Row and hoped for a humorous validation of our seemingly shared experience... maybe something more like The Devil Wears Prada but with less drama and more reflection. That is to say, I wanted to love this book.

Unfortunately, Odell didn't find her stride until chapter 5 ("Editors: The Time I Refrained from Barfing on my Idol, As another outsider who once had an inside view of the industry (I worked at a regional fashion/lifestyle for 5 years), I was really excited to pick up Tales from the Back Row and hoped for a humorous validation of our seemingly shared experience... maybe something more like The Devil Wears Prada but with less drama and more reflection. That is to say, I wanted to love this book.

Unfortunately, Odell didn't find her stride until chapter 5 ("Editors: The Time I Refrained from Barfing on my Idol, Anna Wintour") when I finally started to hear her voice and recognize her humor. Too bad because I did think she was funny towards the end of the book. Because I only liked the second half of the book and hated the first half, I couldn't give her an extra star. Disregarding for a moment her overuse of parenthetical statements that would have been more effective either expanded on or completely left out, she was playing hot/cold with her feelings about the industry, unconvincingly telling the reader that she has always loved fashion yet she can't dress herself. Even when it concerns her own style she seems confused: is she "the unexpected, the weird" (50) or is she "the most base-level nonpajama outfit--jeans, a Beyonce t-shirt, flats" (111). This repeated observation she makes of herself, even after participating in a number of photo shoots in which she was the subject, was clue number one that this wasn't the book, nor the narrator, I thought it would be.

She took an unexpectedly commercial perspective of the fashion industry--Susie Bubble, Rachel Zoe, Victoria's Secret. I watched The Rachel Zoe Project and The City religiously but, lady, this is only a step up from your Project Runway habit. Sure, she name drops Karl Lagerfeld (father of High Fashion), Ralph Lauren, and Sarah Jessica Parker... and what book could call itself an insider's view of the industry without an Anna Wintour encounter (by the way, you can't make Anna both God and the Pope), but ultimately Odell just proves herself an outsider with a view of only mass market fashion. She warns ahead of time that her book is "neither mockery nor outright tell-all" (11). Well instead we have a wordy account quickly contradicting any strong opinions so as not to piss off the industry. Except if a person she tried to interview was dismissive of her (see Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Whitney Port), although Beyonce is the exception because Odell worships her. Hey, I'm a member of the Beyhive too, but enough with the House of Dereon towel already!

In the first half, Odell is playing the field like a sour patch kid... First she's sour then she's sweet, knocking bloggers for their lack of credibility then admitting how important they are to the changing guard of the fashion industry. Sure, a lot of people may feel that way but a more compelling argument would be one dispelling either their importance or their unimportance. For someone who prided herself on being a sort of anti-Vogue voice, taking an honest and dry humored approach to fashion on The Cut, this flip-flopping is disappointing. Take a stance!!

A simple reformatting could've helped this book, because the chapter titles and order didn't make much sense. Stories told out of nowhere. No flow, no direction, kind of like she wrote the book in bits and pieces, then put it together in order of what made chronological sense without editing. We were 10 pages into chapter 2 about "Trendsetters" before she finally gets to her point about what a trendsetter actually is, spends 4 pages on one trend forecaster, then goes back to her nonsensical anecdote.

"Because I have no plans to run for political office and everyone knows books are the places to reveal these things: this was an occasion on which I smoked pot." (48) Grimace.
She bought $80 Alexander Wang sweatpants while she was high, then wore them out when she was no longer high but said that she did that because she bought her sweatpants while she was high. Then she gets into a fight with her boyfriend because she wears said sweatpants and defends them. But she still blames it on buying them high. What? Maybe if Amy and I were friends, or if she had introduced it in another way or in another part of the book, I would've found this story funny right off the bat, but I just didn't. Maybe she was still high while writing that chapter. A Pothead's View from Inside the Fashion Industry might've actually been more successful.

Even if she rubbed elbows with Adriana Lima, Candice Swanepoel, and Joe Zee's former assistant, this was the only fashion advice I received from the entire book: "When Carine and Julia finished their meals, the model-like pair ran off lithely as if their stilettos and tight skirts were the equivalent of sneakers and track shorts... Roitfeld lesson number four: do not act like you think about your clothes." (42) Well, this is apparently a lesson that Odell is still learning. ...more
3

Feb 19, 2020

Amy Odell's writing is smart, sharp and witty, just as her perception of the industry. I expected essays but it's more like her story, told through chapters focusing on different aspects, spiked with anecdotes.
From what it's like to start off in fashion with little (or no) knowledge about the industry, to work it but often don't feel a part of it.

Good thing I didn't expect somewhat of an examination of the industry, because that's not at all what this is about. You get a better picture of what Amy Odell's writing is smart, sharp and witty, just as her perception of the industry. I expected essays but it's more like her story, told through chapters focusing on different aspects, spiked with anecdotes.
From what it's like to start off in fashion with little (or no) knowledge about the industry, to work it but often don't feel a part of it.

Good thing I didn't expect somewhat of an examination of the industry, because that's not at all what this is about. You get a better picture of what it's like but it's basically just her recalling her experiences with fashion events and trends.

I love how she can see the absurdity but still loves the industry, I can totally relate to that. I'd say this is for everyone who hates to love or loves to hate fashion.

I recognized so much. Like the fashion people, dressed in all black or seemingly wearing two outfits at once and conveying emotions through single words. Or the lunches where no one eats anything but white wine. It's just so true to say that all of this is perfectly normal within the industry, while outside it's anything but.
And the ultimate advice: "When you first start out, always act like you know what's going on. You won't know what's going on ever."

Parts of it are too rambly, though. It's interesting and all but becomes too extensive. And as something incredibly hilarious that happened to you but when you tell the story, nobody laughs. The awkward moment when people say pitifully "I'm sure, that moment had to be soo funny". ...more
3

Nov 15, 2015

This book deserves more stars.

As an audiobook reader, there's something I wish I could tell every single author. Every new author, ever seasoned author. I wish I could sit down with them, take their hand, look them in their eye.

We want to like your book. We, the audiobook readers, want nothing more than to listen to your book, and escape reality and fall into the rabbit hole. None of us want to be bored, or irritated, or frustrated. We just want to love you.

And the one thing. The one thing. This book deserves more stars.

As an audiobook reader, there's something I wish I could tell every single author. Every new author, ever seasoned author. I wish I could sit down with them, take their hand, look them in their eye.

We want to like your book. We, the audiobook readers, want nothing more than to listen to your book, and escape reality and fall into the rabbit hole. None of us want to be bored, or irritated, or frustrated. We just want to love you.

And the one thing. The one thing. That will kill our joy with your book. Is a bad narrator.

I think Amy Odell is funny. I say I think, because this narrator has no joy in her voice. The great lines are not told with any sense of comic timing, or mirth. Flat as a board, and it takes you a moment to realize that was supposed to be a joke. So, had this been read by a talented narrator, I might've been cracking up a lot during the listening.

Amy is smart, and sharp. She likes Britney Spears and reality television more than I'm comfortable with, but that's the kind of girl she is. She tells her stories in a way that makes anyone who isn't in love with the same things she is still find the goodness there.

She talks about the fashion industry from an outsider's perspective, while still being knowledgeable about it. She discusses the insanity that is haute couture, and how spending a small mortgage to buy a pair of shoes is ridiculous. But you can tell she really loves everything about the industry, from her mentor, scary-as-hell Anna Wintour, to fashion week, viewed from her spot in the back of the room.

She also discusses the life of a fashion blogger, starting from the days before being a blogger was considered a real thing, as opposed to Some Guy on the Internet.

This book deserved so many more stars. But the narrator sucked all of the joy straight out of the book, and made it monotonous and dull. It's a damn shame. ...more
3

Aug 31, 2015

So many of these books tend to be a bit samey, but I quite enjoyed reading Tales from the Back Row because Amy Odell is unapologetic about her style, voice and what she thinks of fashion, and that she can treat the ridiculous and the over-the-top fairly (and admit it when she doesn't.) There's a lot of hilarity in the book, yes, but Odell doesn't treat her work as not being serious, and that's what I really enjoyed. Read it just for the brilliant bit about her interviewing with Anna Wintour.
4

Jun 27, 2015

This was a funny book. I remember Amy Odell's columns in NY Mag's "The Cut"...She got a funny tone. You can tell she's not taking herself or fashion too seriously. If you're a fashionista or just a fan of fashion, you'll like enjoy this book.
5

Sep 01, 2015

The glitz, the glamour, the bizarre designer clothing...I can't seem to get enough of fashion industry memoirs. Thank You to Simon & Schuster for an advanced copy of Amy Odell's Tales From the Back Row in exchange for an honest review.

PLOT- Fashion editor and blogger, Amy Odell, recalls her industry experiences that range from standing in the back at fashion shows, to being invited to sit in the front row. She experiences fashion highs, like interviewing with Anna Wintour and lows, like The glitz, the glamour, the bizarre designer clothing...I can't seem to get enough of fashion industry memoirs. Thank You to Simon & Schuster for an advanced copy of Amy Odell's Tales From the Back Row in exchange for an honest review.

PLOT- Fashion editor and blogger, Amy Odell, recalls her industry experiences that range from standing in the back at fashion shows, to being invited to sit in the front row. She experiences fashion highs, like interviewing with Anna Wintour and lows, like discovering that designer sweatpants do not belong at brunch with her future in-laws. Odell not only shares her personal stories, but she also gives excellent advice for those looking to start a career in fashion. What exactly does a stylist do? What's up with all of the pregnant Victoria Secret Angels? How do you land that coveted front row seat during fashion week? Odell answers all.

LIKE- Amy Odell is hilarious. Tales from the Back Row is like going out for a gossip over cocktails with your best friend. Not just your best friend, but that person at every party who always seems to have the most entertaining stories and is the funniest person in the room. That's Odell. I was giggling, snorting and flat out belly laughing nearly the entire time. Seriously funny stuff.

Odell positions herself as someone who can see the absurdity in fashion, but who still loves it. She can mock it, but does so with a true affinity for the art. She creates the persona of someone who is part "industry insider" and part "fish out of water", which as a non-fashion person, I found highly relatable.

Beyond Odell's "voice", her stories were throughly entertaining. I really enjoyed reading about her margarita lunch with Chelsea Handler and her stressful job interview with Anna Wintour. Odell fills her book with celebrity encounters and crazy fashion.

DISLIKE- The only thing that I disliked is that Tales from the Back Row was too short. I breezed through it and was left wanting more. I really hope that Odell has follow-up book in the works, but in the meantime, I immediately began to follow her on Twitter. I'll take what I can get.

RECOMMEND- YES!!! Although it helps to have an interest in fashion, I don't think it's a prerequisite to enjoy Tales from the Back Row. Odell is so engaging and hilarious, that she could read the phone book and I'd listen.

Like my review? Check out my blog! ...more
5

Jun 05, 2015

The beauty of fashion industry is that while everyone in it judges everyone, in a way, they also judge no one.



Brilliant writing, keen observations about the fashion industry and sharp humor. Thats Tales From the Back Row in brief. Its fresh, its funny, but best of all, its relatable. Even if youre an outsider whose experience with the industry amounts to passing each other by like ships in the night.

The world of fashion is a peculiar place inhabited by ethereal models, street style pretenders, “The beauty of fashion industry is that while everyone in it judges everyone, in a way, they also judge no one.”



Brilliant writing, keen observations about the fashion industry and sharp humor. That’s Tales From the Back Row in brief. It’s fresh, it’s funny, but best of all, it’s relatable. Even if you’re an outsider whose experience with the industry amounts to passing each other by like ships in the night.

The world of fashion is a peculiar place inhabited by ethereal models, street style pretenders, bloggers and eccentric (and maybe somewhat weird and occasionally despotic) couture geniuses. Normal laws need not apply. Fashion industry is about standing out to fit it, and yes, it’s about pretty clothes, but also much much more… The people who wear them, the ones who create them, the ones who show them off, the parties where that happens. Amy Odell tells all about it.

What is it like, starting off in fashion with little knowledge of the industry? What does it take to get noticed by street style photographers during NY Fashion Week? How can you ruing a Vogue interview with Anna Vintour? What are encounters encounters with Karl Lagerfeld and Rachel Zoe like?Are Victoria’s Secret Angels as out-of-this-world as you’d think they are? And many many more. Tales From the Back Row chronicles Amy Odell’s rise from party reporter to Cosmopolitan.com editor, her path has been extraordinary, unbelievable and a pure fun to read about. ...more
4

Sep 10, 2015

A high fashion memoir from someone who has a regular person outlook on the world of fashion but an insider's knowledge? Yes, please! If you've met me or seen pictures of me, you know fashion is not a personal love of mine as far as my own clothing is concerned. I'd much rather spend my money on books and art supplies than on upscale clothing, shoes, and purses. But I'm also still a woman and while I'm not as particular about my personal wardrobe, I do have an interest in fashion as a thing to A high fashion memoir from someone who has a regular person outlook on the world of fashion but an insider's knowledge? Yes, please! If you've met me or seen pictures of me, you know fashion is not a personal love of mine as far as my own clothing is concerned. I'd much rather spend my money on books and art supplies than on upscale clothing, shoes, and purses. But I'm also still a woman and while I'm not as particular about my personal wardrobe, I do have an interest in fashion as a thing to look at and I'm not averse to reading the occasional fashion blog or looking at pictures of pretty people wearing pretty clothes. What drew me to this book was that Odell writes from both perspectives. She loves fashion, she loves clothing, and she's passionate about it - but she also realizes the craze extent it goes to among celebrities and fashion insiders and isn't afraid to laugh at it. There's loads to love here, from celebrity gossip to blog tales to the less glamorous aspects of the industry. ...more
2

Jan 23, 2017

I figured that a book by a humorous former fashion blogger would be a perfect fit for me since I read a humorous fashion blog daily, but I was sadly mistaken. Through reading about Odell's experiences, I did gain some insight into the fashion industry, but it took a while for the book to fully capture my attention due to a slow, unexpectedly dull start. At times it feels like Odell is trying way too hard to be funny, her writing is prone to go off on wild personal tangents, and some of her I figured that a book by a humorous former fashion blogger would be a perfect fit for me since I read a humorous fashion blog daily, but I was sadly mistaken. Through reading about Odell's experiences, I did gain some insight into the fashion industry, but it took a while for the book to fully capture my attention due to a slow, unexpectedly dull start. At times it feels like Odell is trying way too hard to be funny, her writing is prone to go off on wild personal tangents, and some of her stories just aren't interesting enough to share. I found the most engaging chapter to be the one devoted to models, specifically their involvement in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, since it features fairly concise writing that does a good job capturing the lavish spectacle of both the event and its participants. Otherwise, there's not much here to recommend.

Thanks to Goodreads for providing me with a copy of this title. ...more
2

Oct 07, 2016

I liked the authors writing style, but ultimately she just didn't have enough to write about so that made this book a complete bore. If I hadn't been sitting poolside with it I likely wouldn't have finished it. She claims to be a fashion outsider but with access enough to have experience around what the fashion industry is like. But there is none of that. She writes 40 pages about getting backstage access to the Victoria Secret show to do interviews but tells us nothing we haven't read in any I liked the authors writing style, but ultimately she just didn't have enough to write about so that made this book a complete bore. If I hadn't been sitting poolside with it I likely wouldn't have finished it. She claims to be a fashion outsider but with access enough to have experience around what the fashion industry is like. But there is none of that. She writes 40 pages about getting backstage access to the Victoria Secret show to do interviews but tells us nothing we haven't read in any other publication. And she repeats over and over again that she herself has no style and doesn't know how to dress and acts like she has no interest in fashion. Yet on the next page says that Anna Wintour is her idol who she's wanted to work for since she was younger. So I couldn't quite figure out what is real and whether she puts on the self-deprecating attitude to make herself seem more relatable. ...more
4

Aug 14, 2015


*Book provided by publisher in exchange for honest review*
Read full review at http://myriadinklings.wordpress.com

I dont read a lot of non-fiction because I honestly find that a lot of non-fiction books are a little dull/lacking personality. However, I found that Tales From The Back Row was really humorous. I really loved Odells voice as she told her stories that gave us glimpses into working in the fashion world. I enjoyed the formatting of the book as well, it was easy to pick up and put down
*Book provided by publisher in exchange for honest review*
Read full review at http://myriadinklings.wordpress.com

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction because I honestly find that a lot of non-fiction books are a little dull/lacking personality. However, I found that Tales From The Back Row was really humorous. I really loved Odell’s voice as she told her stories that gave us glimpses into working in the fashion world. I enjoyed the formatting of the book as well, it was easy to pick up and put down at my convenience because of the chapter I found that the excerpt about the Victoria Secret fashion show was especially funny. I think this book would be great in audiobook form as well.

Although this book is not for everyone, if you are at all interested in the fashion world, I would definitely suggest you picking up a copy! ...more
3

Jun 25, 2015

I usually love behind-the-scenes exposes of flashy industries, and the fashion industry is one that feels particularly foreign to me. While I appreciated some of Odell's humor, her specificity, and her intentions, I ultimately felt that this book lacked much purpose. She's an outsider, yes, but only for about ten pages. The book is mostly a collection of essays about fashion SHOWS, not the industry as a whole. It's a breezy read if you like fashion blogging, but for me, it didn't have the heft I usually love behind-the-scenes exposes of flashy industries, and the fashion industry is one that feels particularly foreign to me. While I appreciated some of Odell's humor, her specificity, and her intentions, I ultimately felt that this book lacked much purpose. She's an outsider, yes, but only for about ten pages. The book is mostly a collection of essays about fashion SHOWS, not the industry as a whole. It's a breezy read if you like fashion blogging, but for me, it didn't have the heft it needed to make an impression. ...more
4

Aug 13, 2015

Even if The Devil Wears Prada is the extent of your fashion knowledge, you'll love this book. Amy Odell's Tales from The Back Row is smart, funny, a must for anyone who is fashion curious. I'm not fashion savvy, so I wasn't sure what to expect when jumping into Odell's book, but Odell's re-telling of her time in the back row, was more than I could have hoped. So give into your inner fashionista and read this book.
5

Sep 01, 2015

Amy Odell is hilarious and this book is a treasure. It's a good, juicy, behind the scenes read about fashion from someone who is not part of the world and so she dishes on all the things a non-fashion person wants to know about. This is a book I'll read more than once because the stories are so damn good. A++++
5

Mar 25, 2015

Amy's journey from fashion outsider to industry insider is inspiring, revealing, and (most of all) hilarious. If you want to learn what it's like to interview celebrities on the red carpet, interview with Anna Wintour, or catch the attention of street style bloggers, this book is for you. Or, if you simply enjoy laughing out loud, this book is also for you. I couldn't put it down.
5

Oct 20, 2015

I won this book through the giveaways. Very humorous and well observed detailed world of fashion.
4

Aug 23, 2015

I couldn't have been more excited when I received an email asking me if I'd like to review Tales From the Back Row, a book written by Cosmopolitan.com's editor, Amy Odell. This book is a first hand account of how Amy rose from being the party reporter for New York Magazine to the editor of the largest community of women online.


The book is split into several snappy chapters detailing the different stages  of her ascent and the people she met at each one. It starts with Bloggers, which as a

I couldn't have been more excited when I received an email asking me if I'd like to review Tales From the Back Row, a book written by Cosmopolitan.com's editor, Amy Odell. This book is a first hand account of how Amy rose from being the party reporter for New York Magazine to the editor of the largest community of women online.


The book is split into several snappy chapters detailing the different stages  of her ascent and the people she met at each one. It starts with Bloggers, which as a blogger myself, I found incredibly interesting. I'm currently working as a social media intern in Paris and the big names that she mentions are people that are only even bigger today and it was quite cool seeing people I've been researching appearing in a book in front of my eyes. After Bloggers, we move onto Trendsetters where we learn about Amy's hilarious antics when it comes to figuring out high fashion; then Designers where she reveals what happens when you write snarky pieces about important people. Next up we've got Celebrities, including anecdotes from her interactions with people such as Sarah Jessica Parker; and Editors, where she talks about her interview with the one and only Anna Wintour. Fun fact: Anna Wintour went to my secondary school where she rebelled strongly against the dress code (to be fair, it was brown and blue), and recently gave a talk at my university where she did nothing short of scare the s*** out of me (even at a distance). I can only imagine what it must've been like to be interviewed by her. Now back to the books - the next chapter is Models, where Amy talks about the infamous Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and her interaction with the 'angels'. Then, it's Everybody Else where she talks about some shoots she's been featured in and then finally, You and Me, where she talks about what it's like to find a wedding dress, probably the most important item in any woman's wardrobe. As you can see, there's a heck of a lot of content for one small book, and there's even a quick recap at the end with 10 tips for people who want to work in fashion.


Now onto what I thought...



In general 'tell all' and non-fiction books about various industries, particularly the fashion industry, can tend to be clichéd and rarely offer readers anything they haven't heard or seen before - but not Tales From The Back Row. Amy Odell's book is fresh and funny, very funny. I had seen a few reviews of this book around so I had high hopes for this book before I even sat down to read it, but this book was even better than I thought it would be. It's rare that book that is 'hyped' actually ends up exceeding expectations but she's only gone and done it...


Odell continuously reminds us throughout the book that she is not part of the world of high fashion and whilst I wouldn't agree that she is completely an 'outsider', she does have  a real human touch that (stereotypically) those in fashion don't. She's not afraid to admit that whilst she loves fashion, working at a place like Vogue and dressing in pricey designer clothes everyday isn't for her and that's a great thing. She's not the sort of writer than reviews everything thrown at her favorably and I guess that's what great about this book, because the same applies to her stories about the media and the fashion industry. Certain anecdotes she's used don't portray certain big names in the best light, but she was honest enough to include them and it's great that she didn't just fluff over these bits.


Of course, there are also stories about fantastic opportunities Amy has been fortunate enough to have thrown her way in this industry. She's honest about the good things and the bad, talking about getting drunk with Chelsea Handler in between shopping for wedding dresses as well as getting beaten down by Harvey Weinstein. Whilst the fashion industry makes everything look effortless, everyone knows that it's anything but, however it's rare that someone really unpicks what goes on behind the scenes. If you want to know about the ups and all the downs you need to go through to get to the ups of the fashion industry, then this is the book for you.


What really comes across in the book is how hard Amy worked to get where she is today. This isn't because Amy toots her own horn and goes on and on about how hard she's working, it's just something that becomes evident through her stories, her anecdotes, her thoughts and feelings. A career in fashion has never been a particular desire of mine and having read Amy's account I'm even more sure that it's not the right path for me. That's not at all because the things she said were horrifying or anything like that, but simply because reading her personal account and her motivations made me realise that I, personally, don't have the same aspirations, but others may feel differently. This is an absolute must-read for those interested in a career in fashion as it's probably the most truthful account you'll find out there.


Tales From The Back Row is the sort of story you can pick up and put down without losing track of what's going on, but I'd be surprised if you found yourself wanting to put it down. It's a fairly quick read, one that you could definitely make it through on a lazy Sunday, and yet there are so many stories packed into it. My only complaint is that there wasn't more about how she landed her jobs at Buzzfeed and Cosmopolitan.com. The focus of the book is how Amy garnered a sufficient amount of success to really get the ball rolling but it's a little sketchy on the details of her career once she'd 'made it'. I would've loved to have heard more stories about life at Cosmo etc. but perhaps that's for another day and another book! (Tales From the Front Row anyone? *wink wink* Amy).


Want to get your hands on a copy of Tales From the Back Row? It's available here from The Book Depository.

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2

Jul 15, 2018

I don't get this book. Is it supposed to be an insight into the fashion world? An insight into the author herself? Or, per the summary, provide helpful tips for making it on to and up the professional fashion ladder? Because it really doesn't fully deliver on any of these.

With a smidge of apparel experience myself, I thought I would enjoy Odell's chronicling of her (mis)adventures in the industry. But she gives us such basic and expected stories, and they failed to expand on my admittedly I don't get this book. Is it supposed to be an insight into the fashion world? An insight into the author herself? Or, per the summary, provide helpful tips for making it on to and up the professional fashion ladder? Because it really doesn't fully deliver on any of these.

With a smidge of apparel experience myself, I thought I would enjoy Odell's chronicling of her (mis)adventures in the industry. But she gives us such basic and expected stories, and they failed to expand on my admittedly limited knowledge. And if she can't even give anything new to someone who knows so little, then really, what is the point? ...more
3

May 25, 2018

Felt a little all over the place as the author's opinion seemed to veer in many directions at different points, giving this the feel of blog posts written over a year or so and then compiled into a book somewhat with a narrative. Though, not really, as it did feel very disjointed.
That being said, if you're looking for an outsider's look into fashion - and most women are outsiders wanting to be insiders of the fashion world! I'll gladly admit I am - then you've got the right book. It is often Felt a little all over the place as the author's opinion seemed to veer in many directions at different points, giving this the feel of blog posts written over a year or so and then compiled into a book somewhat with a narrative. Though, not really, as it did feel very disjointed.
That being said, if you're looking for an outsider's look into fashion - and most women are outsiders wanting to be insiders of the fashion world! I'll gladly admit I am - then you've got the right book. It is often funny, quirky, sometimes frankly ridiculous, but hey, that's also fashion in a nutshell, right? ...more
3

Jul 25, 2018

A funny, snarky book by someone who works in the fashion industry, yet doesnt always feel a part OF it. Odell pairs the seriousness with the utter ridiculous, and its kinda hilarious :) I could do without her occasional cursing - shes much funnier without! She tells stories about interviewing celebrities and models, hitting up NY Fashion Week, the rules of fashion shows, all while telling the reader that shes perfectly happy wearing old jeans and t-shirt to work. A funny, snarky book by someone who works in the fashion industry, yet doesn’t always feel a part OF it. Odell pairs the seriousness with the utter ridiculous, and it’s kinda hilarious :) I could do without her occasional cursing - she’s much funnier without! She tells stories about interviewing celebrities and models, hitting up NY Fashion Week, the rules of fashion shows, all while telling the reader that she’s perfectly happy wearing old jeans and t-shirt to work. ...more

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