Celebrating the Launch of “Women in Clothes,” the Book That Delves Deep Into Our Relationship With Fashion

Women in Clothes book launch
Stefania Yarhi
Women in Clothes book launch
Photography by Stefania Yarhi

See all the pics from the Women in Clothes launch party »

When Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton began working on their buzzy new book, Women in Clothes, they handed out business cards printed with the words, “I like what you’re wearing” to women they came across on their daily travels. Those cards would have come in handy last night at their Toronto book launch and clothing swap, held at Gravity Pope on Queen Street West. The designer boutique was packed to the rafters with guests wearing outfits that undoubtedly come with a story, and the stories behind what we wear is exactly what Women in Clothes is all about.

Designed to look and feel like an art project, the anthology compiles the views of nearly 700 contributors including Miranda July, Cindy Sherman, Molly Ringwald and Lena Dunham. Its 512 pages touch on everything from the clothes lying on bedroom floors to a conversation with iconic cool girl Kim Gordon.

In describing the basis of their book— a survey to which they received about 1,000 responses—during a Q&A, the editors said it was engineered to get “beneath the surface noise of most fashion media” by posing questions like “How long does it take you to get dressed?” and “Do you consider yourself photogenic?” When asked by an audience member if they admire any fashion writing, Heti mentioned an essay by Oscar Wilde, who hasn’t written about anything at all for more than a century, let alone this season. Fashion may not be everyone’s cup of tea but, as the editors of Women in Clothes pointed out, we all have to get dressed in the morning.