How about a cross between The Devil Wears Prada and American Psycho? As soon as readers get to know the twisted fashion editor Anya St. Clair in Amina Akhtar’s debut novel #FashionVictim (Crooked Lane), it is clear she is not the stereotypical fashionista often depicted in the fictional world of fashion.
Unlike many of her professional peers, Anya is relatively self-made. She did not get her job at top fashion magazine La Vie handed to her, though readers soon learn her resume does not truly represent her qualifications. Regardless, she is portrayed as a hard worker from the start of the novel as she attends a work event full of people she views as fake and unlikeable.
Anya’s violent side becomes clear in the first chapter when she shoves a publicist’s head into a mirror at the party and resists the urge to kick her as she exits the bathroom and reenters the party. This might seem tame relative to Anya’s other behavior – basically, she will kill anyone who gets in her way.
When readers first experience the La Vie work environment, they get to know Anya’s co-worker Sarah Taft, who is the opposite of Anya. The socialite was raised with a privileged upbringing and does not put half as much effort into her job as Anya. Even though they differ in work ethic, Sarah continues to receive praise, mostly due to her high social standing among New York’s elite.
Anya’s obsession with Sarah quickly unfolds when the two become competitors for a promotion. She assumes the only way she can beat Sarah and get the job is to “become” her.
One of #FashionVictim‘s most original aspects is Anya’s frequent visits from the characters she has killed. While a number of deaths are described throughout the novel, one in particular, not revealed until the end, is particularly shocking.
As a former fashion writer and editor for Vogue and Elle, and it’s clear Akhtar has a first-hand understanding of the business, which makes #FashionVictim a compelling read.
ABOUT AMINA AKHTAR:
Amina Akhtar is a former fashion writer and editor. She’s worked at Vogue, Elle.com, Style.com, NYTimes.com, and NYMag.com where she was the founding editor of The Cut blog. She’s written for numerous publications, including Yahoo Style, Fashionista, xoJane, Refinery29, Billboard, and for brands like Bergdorf Goodman and H&M’s 10 Years of Style tome. After toiling in the fashion ranks for over fifteen years, she now writes full time in the desert mountains, where she’s detoxing from her once glam life. #FashionVictim is Amina’s first novel.