TWO TIMES THE LAUGHS
British-born twins Plum and Lucy Sykes both have laugh-out-loud funny books out right now.
The fashion and literary bona fides of the Sykes sisters are undeniable. Lucy Sykes was the fashion director at Marie Claire and a stylist at Town & Country and Allure, and her novel The Knockoff was a best seller. Her new book, Fitness Junkie (written with Jo Piazza; $26, Doubleday), is a satirical play-byplay of fitness-obsessed New Yorkers as they bop from one trendy class to another, all the while analyzing every calorie they ingest. Plum Sykes is a former edi- tor at both British and American Vogue, a fashion It girl, and a lover of chick (or shall we say chic) lit; she penned Bergdorf Blondes and The Debutante Divorcée. Her latest, Party Girls Die in Pearls ($27, Harper), is a rollicking murder mystery set at Oxford University. Here we chat with the oh-sopowerful Sykes duo.
Plum, your book is the first in a new series of mysteries set at Oxford, which you attended. Plum Sykes: It is a comic murder mystery set in the 1980s. It is very much based on personal anecdotes, as well as the stories of many of my friends and other Oxford graduates. It was such a funny time to be at university, because the Sloane Ranger was the icon, as well as women like Ivana Trump and Princess Diana. I really wanted to write a book that was a spoof of this time and of all those fashion styles that at the time we all thought were so wonderful.
We follow the adventures of Ursula Flowerbutton—i love that name—and her friend Nancy Feingold. PS: The key character is Nancy Feingold, and she is an American year-abroad student. She really is a fish out of water, because she has been used to wearing sweatpants and sneaks at college, and now she’s thrown into the ball-gownwearing world of Oxford, which seems so formal and intimidating to her. She also absolutely loves the dressing up! I met a lot of American students while I was at Oxford, and they all found the experience to be incredibly inspiring and completely different from being at college in the United States. Did you two talk about your books as you were writing them? PS: All the time. Lucy always has amazing stories and funny jokes, which I often find myself including in my books and articles. If you need a funny quote, I say call Lucy Sykes. Lucy, your book is filled with spot-on moments in the nutty world of New Yorkers obsessed with the latest fitness trends. Lucy Sykes: It is an inspired mashup of real fitness life and stories we overheard—plus a big spoonful of sugar. There are no real people in this novel. I love the horror of Janey eating the bruffin and being photographed at a fashion show while doing so. Would that really happen to a woman in her position? LS: Sadly, being fat-shamed is not unusual in fashion or our Instaperfect world. Everyone has a filtered bikini body while eating beautiful fairy food. As far as fads go, the clay diet and Free the Nipple yoga are my two favorites. LS: My best friend eats clay two weeks before the fashion shows. She drops 10 every time. Clay now has a celebrity following. Dirty food is the new clean eating!
“MY BEST FRIEND EATS CLAY TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE FASHION SHOWS. DIRTY FOOD IS THE NEW CLEAN EATING!” — lucy sykes
Sisters Lucy (left) and Plum Sykes have spent much of their summer in the Hamptons, where they’ve had a variety of signings for their two tomes.
Lucy and Plum Sykes have turned their insiders’ knowledge—of fashion, fitness, and Oxford— into two of the summer’s best beach reads.