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  • semiotext(e) Sleeveless: Fashion, Image, Media, New York 2011 - 2019

Sleeveless: Fashion, Image, Media, New York 2011 - 2019

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By Natasha Stagg. Published by semiotext(e) MIT Press.

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We were supposed to meet Rose McGowan at Cafe d’Alsace after the party, but she canceled. I hadn’t even read her Weinstein story. I still wanted to know that the articles were being published in large quantities, but reading stories and abuse and humiliation was as stupefying as a hangover.

Eve Babitz meets Roland Barthes in Sleeveless, Natasha Stagg’s follow-up to Surveys, her 2016 novel. Composed of essays and stories commissioned by fashion, art, and culture magazines, Sleeveless is a scathing and sensitive report from New York in the 2010’s, during which Stragg worked as a magazine editor and consultant. Through these jobs, she met and quickly interviewed countless industry luminaries and learned about the quickly evolving strategies of branding. In Sleeveless, she exposes the mechanics of personal identity and its monetization that propelled the narrator of Surveys from a mall job in Tucson to internet fame.

“Natasha Stagg pays detailed attention to statistical selves that are at once vital and precarious and leaves us a boatload of truths. Sleeveless is a vibrant record of the cost to life of her specific cosmopolitan scene.” — Lauren Berlant

“Stagg is a canary in the cultural coal mine of a city whose intellectual and bohemian postures have begun to feel as false as they are drained of any rela agency. WHat are these fumes? As New York melts into iPhone screens, it seems that literature can still get high on the poison of its own smoking remains.” — John Kelsey

"Stagg writes in a direct, clean, unapologetic style that is cynical in all the right ways and sentimental in all the right ways too. She’s a trustworthy and perhaps indispensable reporter on this mediated condition we’re living through. Her essays about sex are major necessary news. She know how decadent—and not in a happy way—our ‘moment’ is. And how it is time for voices like Natasha’s.”

—Wayne Kostenbaum