The crowd at Phillip Lim on Tuesday afternoon was abuzz, but not for the usual fashion-y reasons. Seated merrily in the front row of the show was none other than author and former fatwa recipient, Salman Rushdie. This felt like an odd fit — for one thing, Lim was showing womenswear, and for another, Rushdie isn't your typical fashionista, given that he looks as though he's eaten a bagel at least once in his life. We decided that, because there are too many unsolved mysteries in the world, we would take one for the team and ferret out the answer to this one ourselves. But somewhere between our seat and his, our brains went into overload. What does a semi-pro celebrity spotter ask Salman freaking Rushdie? Perhaps an incisive question about Egypt? Something about Carine Roitfeld leaving French Vogue? Whether he had fun filming Bridget Jones's Diary? By the time we got to him, all we could do was take a deep breath and lay this impressive science down on him: "Hi. How are you?"
After this scintillating beginning, Rushdie — he was fine, thanks for asking — did graciously agree to follow-up questions, and told us he was attending the show on the arm of a friend. "I don't usually come to these shows. One show per year is about my speed," he said. "But I'm working hard and I'm not going out in the daytime much, so I let myself get dragged out. I'm looking forward to it." Turns out Rushdie is hard at work on a memoir, which he's almost halfway through writing. We imagine this is very hard work — although maybe that's because our lives are boring, and we've never been married to Padma, so we can't conceive of being able to memoir-ize particularly swiftly — but Rushdie said it's much easier thanks to a desk stacked high with twenty years' worth of handwritten diaries. "You really just sit down and write and see what feels natural," he shrugged. "You've actually already done the hard work of having the life." If only we'd done the hard work of asking him sensible questions — like what was his favorite thing about being in a room with Hugh Grant, or if he was bummed that he never got to make a cameo on Seinfeld, despite having been named-checked therein — we'd have earned ourselves our own chapter. Alas. Maybe we'll catch him at the one show he attends next year.