Lynn Yaeger is a celebrated journalist whose biting humour and wit bolstered the fashion pages of The Village Voice for three decades and whose bylines now regularly appear in Vogue, WSJ and New York magazine. As fearless with her words as she is with her fashion, Yaeger is known for her unapologetic frankness on paper and her staunchly individual personal style. Cut from the same cloth as great fashion eccentrics like Isabella Blow and Anna Piaggi, she’s instantly recognisable for her cropped, henna-dyed hair, doll-inspired makeup, and layers upon layers of voluminous skirts.
While studying political economy as a graduate student at New York’s The New School, it was a decision to buy a dress that set her on the road to her first break. “I got a student loan,” she recalls, “And I thought if I spent all the student loan money on dresses, then I’d be confident in how I looked and just buckle down and study. I bought these six French dresses — I still remember them, they were beautiful — and I ran out of money.” To recuperate financially, Yaeger took a part-time job doing customer service in the advertising department of The Village Voice, which lead to an opportunity to write for the paper.
“The second piece that I wrote was this humorous piece about packing for Europe. Helen Gurley Brown, who was the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, read it, called the editor of The Voice, and said, ‘I love this article, I’m buying it for Cosmo. Who’s this Lynn Yaeger? She’s such a good writer."
Yaeger stayed at the Voice for roughly 30 years — “my whole adult life” — until she was unexpectedly laid off on December 30, 2008. “I thought, Oh my god, I’m not going to the shows. I was just devastated. Then New York magazine called me and said, ‘Would you consider covering the shows for us?’ It was such a gift out of the blue. It was very Cinderella.”
In addition to her show coverage for New York magazine, Yaeger is a contributing editor at American Vogue. “The Village Voice is a very specific audience — it’s not such a fashion audience,” she says. “Vogue is Vogue. You have wonderful access and there’s a very, very high level of integrity and quality about the work.”