Following Charles Askegard’s emotional final performance with the New York City Ballet on Sunday, the principal dancer’s wife Candace Bushnell threw a retirement party for him at Landmarc. Among the guests was Vogue’s Hamish Bowles, who chatted with us about childhood dance-class trauma, among other things.
Did you ever take dance lessons?
I did. I did ballet lessons when I was a little boy, yeah.
Were you any good?
Well, my teacher wanted me to audition for White Lodge, you know, the Royal Ballet School. But my parents didn't think that was a great idea, so they, um, actually told me that my dance teacher had retired, and that there would be no more dance lessons. And stricken a few years later, they sort of confessed. I would have had far more shapely thighs at this particular moment in time. I do regret that, but I'm very happy the way my career veered.
When you discovered fashion, did your parents try to put a stop to that?
No, they were very all-embracing of that. I think the guilt kicked in at that point, so they couldn't have been more supportive.
Vogue is starting some kind of archival website. What is that about?
Yeah, we're putting the history of Vogue online, so you can flit to a March 15, 1927, issue and go through it. And there's going to be a kind of fashion encyclopedia component, too. It's the histories of all the designers and all the contributors and figures that Vogue has celebrated and embraced through the century.
Are you working on it yourself?
I'm not working on it, but I'm absolutely dying for it because, I mean, luckily I have the Vogue archive just several floors below my office, so I consult it all the time. But it would be incredibly useful to be able to consult it with search engines and find that elusive, you know, 1937 Lanvin I think I just bought in a flea market, for instance. So I'm very excited about that.
Charles Askegard is retiring. What would be your fantasy retirement?
Well, it always was a palace in Tangier.
How did you deal with the heat in Paris during the shows?
It was challenging because I literally brought a fairly extensive wardrobe of high tweed and winter-woolen clothes. And, of course, it's impossible to buy anything, because it's only fall merchandise, so yeah, there was a black jeans-and-shirt-with-no-tie moment, which I think is unprecedented on a Sunday.