You move to New York, you start a dream job, and your boss dies on the fourth day. That’s chapter one of author and journalist Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni’s new book, After Andy: Adventures in Warhol Land (out now from Penguin Random House).
“It’s very much not a biography,” said Fraser-Cavassoni, who sent waves of fabulousness through my iPhone while speaking from her Paris home. “It’s a memoir using Andy as a thread. He was there during a key time of my life, and it was kind of an exciting time.”
Born into something of a literary and intellectual dynasty (her mother is novelist and historian Lady Antonia Fraser, her father was politician Sir Hugh Fraser, and her stepfather was Nobel Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter, actor, and director Harold Pinter), Fraser-Cavassoni was one of the 1980s’ ultimate English It girls. She was featured in British Vogue, dated Mick Jagger (yes, that’s obviously in the book), and attended the best parties about town, all before turning 18. It was at one such soiree where, at 16, she first met Warhol. “He was so chatty!” she recalled. “I always had a good time with him.”
Fast forward to 1987, and Fraser-Cavassoni, who had since moved to the States, landed a job at Warhol’s New York studio. She started on a Thursday. Warhol died the following Sunday. In less than a week, her glamorous gig had morphed into fielding calls from mourners. It makes sense, then, that her memoir opens with a detailed and deeply droll account of Warhol’s glitterati-packed funeral, which Fraser-Cavassoni refers to as her “first New York society event.”
So, no, the book is not a Warhol bio—there are a million of those and we’ve all read them. (Fraser-Cavassoni’s favorite is Bob Colacello’s Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up, should you be so inclined.) Rather, After Andy is the coming-of-age tale of a dynamic, curious woman who spent her early adult years in the artist’s star-filled orbit. Girls and Broad City this is not—I mean, post-Warhol, Fraser-Cavassoni went on to assist Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld in Paris, not to smoke pot in Brooklyn—but the author’s recollections of getting by on her wits while mingling with pop culture’s most influential and notorious characters are the stuff binge-worthy entertainment is made of.
Fresh off a U.S. press tour, which included a party in Houston thrown by hostess extraordinaire Lynn Wyatt, Fraser-Cavassoni spoke with Fashion Unfiltered about After Andy, how to charm celebrities, and why authenticity is the “the best passport.”