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From Parkland to Prada

  • New York Times Best-Selling Author and former Parkland resident, Lauren Weisberger has reason to smile due to her successful career.
    New York Times Best-Selling Author and former Parkland resident, Lauren Weisberger has reason to smile due to her successful career.
Published June 17. 2013 05:06PM

Summer a time for great beach fashion and great beach books. What's trending this season? Cobalt blue, Palazzo pants and "Revenge Wears Prada," New York Times best-selling author and former Parkland resident Lauren Weisberger's much-anticipated sequel to chick-lit hit, "The Devil Wears Prada."

"Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns" takes place nearly 10 years from when Andy Sachs was fired from Runway magazine. This time, Sachs teams up with former nemesis turned best friend/business partner, Emily Charlton, to start a high-end bridal magazine, The Plunge. But just like old trends, everything in fashion makes a revival and it's not long before their former editor, Miranda Priestly swoops back into the scene to ruin Sachs' and Charlton's nuptial bliss.

While both books take place in the glittering setting of New York City, Weisberger hails from humbler roots. She was born in Scranton in 1977 and moved to Allentown in the sixth grade. She graduated from Parkland High School in 1995 and long before she was writing New York Times bestsellers, Weisberger was writing for her school newspaper and playing on the tennis team.

"I really feel like (Allentown) was a wonderful, wonderful place to grow up. I had terrific teachers and lots of friends that I keep in contact with to this day," said Weisberger. "I look back on living in Allentown and have really great memories."

Weisberger said she writes about what she knows. The inspiration for "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Revenge Wears Prada" came from Weisberger's experience as an assistant to former editor in chief of American Vogue, Anna Wintour.

Besides their job titles, Wintour and Priestly share traits including British heritage, a bob hairstyle and the often cruel ways they run their offices. The same parallels apply to Andy, who like Weisberger, comes from a small town, graduated from a top university (Weisberger Cornell University, Sachs Brown University) and is completely taken aback by the world of high fashion during her tenure as an assistant to an icy editor.

Thinking back on her time at Vogue, Weisberger said, "Probably the hardest thing for me was the idea that I had to be on call 24/7. It was a novelty 10 years ago to even have a cell phone so the idea that it could ring at any time was hard for me to deal with."

The cell phone still haunts Weisberger and her new book opens up with Sachs having a nightmare about the "Br-rrring! Br-rrring!" of Priestly's signature ringtone.

While Priestly and Wintour are notorious for giving ridiculous assignments to their employees, Weisberger said she likes to keep Priestly's demands in "the realm of reasonable." Yet, that realm seems to be pretty expansive and Weisberger added Priestly does not show much growth as a character in "Revenge Wears Prada."

"Miranda is very much still the Miranda we love to know and hate from the first (book)," said Weisberger.

Does the world need these Prada-wearing, seemingly-heartless ice queens of editorial reigns? Would the fashion world cease to function without Priestlys and Wintours?

Weisberger thinks not.

"It's not as if the world needs them so much I think it is possible for people to be really successful and really accomplished in this field while being nice," said Weisberger.

Whether or not Priestly and Sachs will be revisited by the famous actresses (Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, respectively) that played in the movie adaptation of "The Devil Wears Prada" has yet to be determined. However, Weisberger has her hopes.

"You know, I think that would be the most exciting thing ever. I loved what they did with the first movie. I think it would really work great with the whole same cast coming back again. If that happened, I think that would be wonderful," gushed Weisberger.

The book alone is a sample sale of beautiful, cinematic images. Weisberger described floor-length, pale blue maxidresses and tan, suede booties so vividly that one can imagine the clothes in her own closet.

However, Weisberger said the fashion world held very little interest for her growing up.

"… Growing up in a small town and then going to school at a big campus school in upstate New York … it was not a place where people are wearing leather pants and stilettos … To go to work every day coming from there, it was definitely a shock. It was all so crazy and overwhelming," said Weisberger.

"I would definitely not say I have any kind of sophisticated understanding of high fashion," admitted Weisberger.

For fashion inspiration, Weisberger said, "I just kind of observe pop culture. I read magazines and watch TV and movies, and you know, I have my sites online."

Currently, Weisberger is on tour with her book and said things are going "so far, so great."

"I loved getting to revisit these characters that I hadn't really thought about or seen in ten years," said Weisberger and claimed she feels fantastic but the book's success so far.

"Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns" is available for purchase online and in book stores. The red and white book cover is sure to go with any summer ensemble and just like the cover says:

"Getting even never goes out of style."

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