Inside The Paris Review Offices

In New York City's esteemed literary world, there are parties, and then there are The Paris Review parties. Indeed, as long as the quarterly journal has garnered respect for discovering new writing talent — Jack Kerouac, Adrienne Rich, and David Foster Wallace, to name a few — it's also been known for its all-night, booze-flowing soirées where society and the counterculture drink from the same bottle of whiskey.
“It’s always been two things at once,” says editor Lorin Stein. “On the one hand, it’s a hyper-sophisticated, modernist, avant-garde magazine. On the other hand, it’s sort of a destination party.” And over the decades, the 60-year-old publication has continually attracted an eclectic crowd, from Jackie O, Truman Capote, and Norman Mailer, to more recently, Zadie Smith, Malcolm Gladwell, and the editors of Vice.
This spring, Stein moved his staff from their former Tribeca loft space up to the Chelsea art district. And the revelers have followed, as evidenced by the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd during their recent 2013 summer-issue fête. But life isn't just a party (if only) — there's work to be done, too. So what is the day-to-day style of The Paris Review? Click ahead to meet their staffers and find out.
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
Stein describes his office's aesthetic as "hand-me-down chic," filling the Chelsea loft space with "new" thrift-store furniture and heirlooms: his great-great aunt's bust of Moliere, antique rugs inherited from the family of former editor George Plimpton, a chair from poet Rose Styron, and lots of Paris Review prints.
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
Hailey Gates, head of advertising and promotions

How you would describe your look — and how does your job at The Paris Review play into it or vice versa?
“I really like uniforms and wearing the same thing in different forms. I also like people that maintain a certain style of a period of time. I like consistency. I think each of us here has some sort of consistency. And I like to have a very floral element, like the pussy bow, and then something that’s more impish, like knee socks. I fall a lot, so I like to cover the bruises on my legs."

What kind of knee socks?
"Ones that stay up are good."
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
What are you reading right now?
"Speed Boat, by Renata Adler. I would definitely recommend it. It's about New York in the ‘70s. It's so manic, it's almost hard to explain. There’s so much information and the form is very unconventional, so as a writer, it's really freeing to read. It allows for more possibility. I'm also reading The Journals of Spalding Gray. It’s been sort of tough to get through because these are private journals published after his death and his work is so personal. It feels intrusive. It’s hard to read the moments when he doubts himself. He has these extreme self-conscious thoughts — it's comforting in a sense that that person feels that way, but at the same time, you feel guilty reading it.” Veda leather miniskirt, American Apparel top, vintage Gucci loafers, and a vintage Rolex watch.
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
Vintage Paris Review.
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Late-afternoon reading.
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Nicole Rudick, managing editor

What’s your style MO?
I’m seven months pregnant, so I have fewer choices than I normally would not being pregnant. I wear a lot of solid colors and often-bright contrasting colors together; I like skirts and dresses more than pants. My fingers are swelling, so no jewelry. I just bought the shoes because they're comfortable and my feet are swollen."

Your dress is very Wednesday Addams.
"A Wednesday Addams’ dress is a good name for it. I like wearing a creepy dress being pregnant. It's sort of unexpected. They have a lot of maternity dresses with bows and ties in the front and they make you look like a little present. It reminds me of Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby and I like that. It’s unexpected."

Favorite book?
"I like really epic books like War and Peace and Les Miserables."
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
Lorin Stein, editor

How would you decribe your style?
“I would describe my look as ‘realistic.’ Low on whimsy. Low on flash. It may be coincidence, but that describes my taste in fiction and poetry, too."

You're wearing a bespoke Seersucker suit made by Kirk Miller. Why do you prefer custom-tailored clothing?
“Nothing ever fit me really, but by the time I graduated from college, my size, 38 long, was no longer stocked by Brooks Brothers. It didn't even exist anymore in most places, so it was a relief to go somewhere where they could make it for me. Kirk is very careful and patient and seems to have fun doing what he does. I like his eye. He has his own taste, but he's not interested in flashy effects. Often the things he makes are unexpected, but not for effect."
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Old school: a Rolodex and Lucky Strikes.
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
What's the best thing you’ve read lately?
“The best thing I've read this month is the novella In Love, by Alfred Hayes, all about a New York writer trying to get over a breakup. Originally published in 1953, it was just reissued by New York Review Book Classics, and it's truly great — even by their impeccably high standards."

Miller's Oath bespoke shirt and pants, Johnston & Murphy white bucks, J. Press tie and socks.
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Work before play.
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Jessica Calderon, finance assistant.

How you would describe your look — and how does your work at The Paris Review play into it?
“My job doesn't influence what I wear. I dress the same way I did when I was 18, in clothes that every New York girl has in her closet (at some point): lots of black, button-up shirts, good shoes, and eyeliner.”

What are your favorite things to read?
“Non-fiction on nature and culture. I'm drawn to authors who write about subjects that can't speak, like animals and landscapes, and elusive, extreme groups of people, from football hooligans — Bill Buford's Among the Thugs, to Romani gypsies — Isabel Fonseca's Bury Me Standing.”

Isabel Marant button-up shirt, thrift-store shirt, thrift-store shorts, and Maison Martin Margiela sandals.
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
Do you typically braid your hair? Or do you just do this for special occasions?
"I always braid or tie it up. Low maintenance."
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
Emily Cole-Kelly, Director of events and development

What’s your MO for dressing up to represent The Paris Review?
"Professional, colorful, and hopefully comfortable...I want to relay what The Paris Review is and the feel of it is, so certainly not wearing a business suit everyday."

Favorite book you've read?
"Recently, Leanne Shapton's Swimming Studies caught my heart. It's not often that I am so wooed by writing that is sports-centric, but this one...It's that she is both an artist and athlete — and the uncommon and attractive combination is beautiful. She has carved out such a distinct voice."

Rachel Comey stenciled-leather peep-toe shoes, Band of Outsiders floral chiffon-crepe dress with pockets.
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
A box full of shoes, found under the desk of events director Cole-Kelly, who explains: "I always make sure I can run in my high heels. For example, at the Revel (their annual fundraising awards dinner), there's 500-plus people and I’m doing my best to say hello to everybody and connect with as many people as I can. So I’m going to be walking quickly at times and want to make sure if I’m needed somewhere, I can run and get there."
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
Great natural light for reading.
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Piano breaks are necessary.
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Sadie Stein, deputy editor

What's your fashion MO?
"I used to blog from home, for Jezebel, so when I started this job, I had to get work clothes — I always think of work clothes as 'work costumes' or 'work drag.' I was able to start from scratch and there was a very specific movie I used as inspiration [Les Femmes], where Brigitte Bardot wears glasses, and works in an office as a secretary. She looks incredibly unprofessional and she's never wearing a bra."

What does Bardot wear?
"A lot of unbuttoned cardigans. Well, I do wear a bra. I’ve always tended toward mid-century styles because they fit my body better. I like either pencil dresses or fit-and-flare shapes — a lot of things that emphasize the waist, so a lot of belts. It's an easy route to go to work to look polished. And I tend to like neutral shoes. I’m short, so it helps to elongate me."

How did you figure that out?
"Trial and error."

Favorite thing to read?
"Most recently, two books: Rousseau’s Confessions, and then when I couldn’t take it any more of that, I Want My MTV, by Rob Tannenbaum and Craig Marks, which I recommend. Before bed I like to read cookbooks. My cooking group and I just cooked from a book called Jerusalem."

Miss Albright d'Orsay-cut leather shoes, American Apparel skirt, Fabulous Fanny's vintage eyeglasses, Verameat baby head ring.
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
Stephen Andrew Hiltner, associate editor

What’s your style MO?
"Comfort, above all else. I’m pretty particular about my jeans. In the summer, I tend to wear a summer wash, and cuffed. A hair tie — sometimes I put it up. Lorin expressly does not like it when I put it up. I’m also the captain of the [Paris Review] softball team. We are undefeated...We have a pretty good rivalry with High Times. I was always playing sports in college and grad school, and I suppose a part of me is informed by playing sports."

Favorite book?
Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence. I have five copies at my desk. It’s T.E. Lawrence’s historical account of his time in the British army and leading a revolt in the desert on the Arabian Peninsula during WWI. There’s an interesting textual history to the book."

What does that mean?
It was originally published in the first edition. He subsequently edited it several times in several different editions. So that's why I have five of them. If I see a copy I don't own, I tend to buy it."

Lucky jeans, Urban Outfitters T-shirt, Toms shoes.
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
Origami, dead roses, and the O.E.D. What else?
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Clare Fentress, assistant editor

What’s your MO for dressing for the office?
"I mostly try to wear as nice as clothes as possible that I can be very active in, because sometimes we have visitors come in the office, or I'm going to a board members' after work and I need to be representative. But I’m also one of the people in the office responsible for utility work. I was in charge of moving all the desks here — I hired people, but I was going with them to pick them up from Queens. So I have to wear things that can get dirty."

Tell us about your dress.
"I got this a couple weeks ago at Beacon’s Closet. It’s a little too big for me, but I like that because it's breezy. I'll be wearing it all summer. I held it up, and it has these ‘90s spaghetti straps that I can never find anymore. They always make your shoulders look very strong. There are just never any simple spaghetti straps anymore. There's cross-over straps, or they’re double strapped, or the bands are too thick."

Can your outfit today get dirty?
"No. I don't always wear things that can get dirty, but I need to be able to move."

Favorite book?
"Brideshead Revisited and Dandelion Wine are the books I return to the most, so perhaps they qualify as favorites. But the best book I've ever read is probably something else. Right now I'm reading Norman Rush's Mating. It's stunning."

Vintage Polo shirt, vintage Jones New York silk shift dress, her grandmother's vintage bracelet, and a Timex watch.
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
Do not disturb.
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The intern pool.
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Janet Gillespie, finance manager

How you would describe your look — and how does your job at The Paris Review play into it or vice versa?
"I don't know if I achieve it, but I like to look prim and ladylike, no high heels or cleavage. My job hasn't affected how I dress too much during the day, but it has affected the number of party dresses I own."

What is your favorite book to read and why?
"I have a lot of favorite books, currently my favorite is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel which I loved because the story is so compelling — Henry's scheming to get rid of his first wife so that he can marry Anne Boleyn. It seems like a soap opera, but slowly reveals itself to be a story not only of English history, but of the transformation of man brought on by the translation of the bible and its availability due to the invention of the printing press."

Meg shirt, Eileen Fisher skirt.
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
Perfect for a pool party.
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Justin Alvarez, digital director

What’s your fashion MO?
"Not completely preppy — it's a mix of my Midwest upbringing along with living in the New York for the last 10 years. I tend to wear a lot of flannel print. Unless there's an event, this is pretty much what I wear everyday. I rarely wear jeans — it happened a year ago, I stopped wearing them. I wear pocket squares usually, accessories are a main focus. There’s only so much a guy can wear to separate themselves from other men out there, style-wise."

Favorite book?
"A Sport and a Pastime, by James Salter. It's about an American expat in France who falls in love with this French woman. It’s a romance, but it's kind of not. That's a terrible explanation of that book."

J.Crew 484 slim fit pants, Uniqlo button-up shirt and Seersucker jacket.
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
The shoes say it all.

Sperry Topsiders.
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Charlotte Strick, art editor/designer

Tell us about your style.
"I’m always the same girl. I was really excited when I found this dress. It was the first one I found with an exposed zipper — it's like a nurse’s starched white dress. My watch was a college graduation present. It's sentimental and I love it. I only take it off if the battery dies, or there’s a really dressy affair. It’s a woman's diving watch, but I like that it's chunky, and also elegant."

How would you describe the aesthetic of The Paris Review?
"I hope that it's elegant and hip and timeless and current. I design from my gut. It's more about intuition — that’s a prettier way of saying it. And with the covers of the Review, I let the artwork guide me. The other colors we're playing with are really a reaction off the artwork."

Favorite book?
"Because I design book jackets for reading, I sadly don't get a lot of pleasure reading in. I read all the books I design and I have twin 2 1/2 year olds at home, so it's become very difficult for me to read outside of work. My favorite book I’ve managed to fit in, would be Patti Smith’s memoirs, Just Kids. I love that book and couldn’t stop thinking about it in the MICU (Maternal Intensive Care Unit). It’s a really good book that stays with you."

Steven by Steve Madden shoes, Abaete dress, Tag Heuer watch, Renoir vintage copper bracelet and necklace.
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Photographed by Sara Kerens
A vintage Paris Review tote bag designed by artist and writer Leanne Shapton. To purchase a subscription of The Paris Review, please click here.

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