I’d heard of her. She’s one of those names, you know the ones — first name only, dropped randomly into casual conversation to test you, to see if you can catch these sorts of oh-so-bohemian cultural references which indicate that the person doing the referencing is a person of Vast Knowledge and Infinite Connections. So, yes, I’d heard of her.
It’s a name that you’re supposed to nod at knowingly, as though you, too, are on a first name basis. In my first year attending media parties, attempting to include myself in what I thought was the coolest club in the world, I used to nod and smile in (what I thought was) a charming way. Of course! I know her. But I didn’t. I learned via reference after reference that this was a woman of which you should have heard. A woman who was doing and has done Many Fabulous Things. The name gradually became ingrained in my media rolodex, but with no context in which to ground it.
All of this is why I really loved reading Guy Trebay’s piece on Kim (Hastreiter, if you’re not on a first name basis), the editor in chief of Paper magazine and, more importantly, “the coolest person in New York.”
I love her already. Trebay describes her as “a large 58-year-old woman who wears cherry-colored glasses and a linen smock, and is planning a hip replacement. That is hip, as in orthopedics, not as in ‘tragically.’” It’s sad how refreshing that was to read.
Even more refreshing is that, as much as she is a person who knows everyone, she is also a person with “no imaginary velvet rope cordon[ing] off her cohort of acquaintances and friends.”
And that’s really nice to read. Because most of the profiles of the important fashion and other industry people are aspirational by way of exclusion; you can dream all you want of being invited to parties thrown by Carine Roitfeld, but it’s probably not going to happen.
Hastreiter even describes herself as an outsider. Upon hearing the news that she’d been nominated by the CFDA for theE ugenia Sheppard Award, she said, “I died. I’m like an artist, like an outsider person.”
According to Trebay, she even invites her interns to dinner at Indochine. Well, her interns or snowboarding gold medalist Shaun White. And in case you’re wondering what sort of an impact she’s personally had on the fashion industry, Trebay writes:
Among the designers whose cause she has championed over the past several decades are Isabel Toledo, Heatherette, the collective AsFour (now known as threeASFOUR), Mr. Olowu and also Geoffrey Beene, the legendary and legendarily prickly designer whose one-time fan letter to Ms. Hastreiter resulted in a friendship that went on to span decades.
The best aspect of Hastreiter might be the fact that she’s not one of those old-school New Yorkers who lament the death of downtown. “I hate when people say everything was so much better back then,” she said. “I live for the combustion that occurs when you bring together unlikely combinations of people and that’s the same as it ever was.”
It certainly is.
Paper Magazine Editor Is Powerful, but No Power Snob [NY Times]