cult of personality

Charlotte Ronson and a Telegraph Reporter Fail to Thrill Each Other With Their Company

Yesterday’s Telegraph is home to one of the most entertaining designer profiles to have been published in some time. The paper sent a writer to talk to Charlotte Ronson for an hour in her New York apartment. Things don’t start off well when Ronson arrives half an hour late due to going out to lunch — literally — with her publicist. She shows up “looking mildly cheesed off,” and doesn’t apologize for her tardiness. The author also doesn’t like that the publicist, Matt, sat through the entire interview, offering his two cents and what she deems unnecessary clarification here and there.

The first few minutes are awful, so bad that I find myself telling Ronson, 32, that she looks really fed up and asking if she hates interviews. Luckily, this has the effect of galvanising her. ‘I just don’t like talking about myself. An hour is a long time.’

But she manages to get more into the conversation.

In 2008 Charlotte, Samantha and Mark agreed to be photographed for Harper’s Bazaar posing as the Royal Tenenbaums, the three gifted siblings in the absurdist Wes Anderson film.

The comparison with the Ronson trio has stuck. ‘It was kind of funny,’ says Charlotte. ‘I played Luke Wilson, Samantha did Gwyneth Paltrow and Mark was Ben Stiller. But I don’t know if I would really compare us to the characters. I can’t play tennis.’

Still, when I visit her flagship boutique in the fashionable Nolita neighbourhood later, the first thing I see when I step inside is a film screen set up above a pink bench.

It is showing The Royal Tenenbaums, which suggests it is a comparison Ronson embraces.

Their time together ends as awkwardly as it began:

She has successfully translated her name into a global brand and last year teamed up with a major American department store, J C Penney, to launch a sportswear collection. ‘It’s a two-year agreement,’ she says.

’I don’t think you should say that,’ says Matt. ‘Say it’s for a few seasons.’

Ronson tells me she has been staying up late a lot recently, working rather than partying. I hear a voice that does not seem to be mine but is coming from my mouth saying sympathetically that she does look a bit tired.

She looks at me icily and I kick myself. ‘Thank you,’ she replies, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

I decide she is right: an hour is definitely too long for this interview.

To both their credit, each lady was honest about how she really felt, and that is rare in fashion journalism.

Charlotte Ronson: “We’re not the Royal Tenebaums” [Telegraph]

Ronson, Reporter Fail to Thrill Each Other