Few of the book-related events that Georgetowners can choose to attend offer as much to do as did the June 9 “Girls Day Out” at Bethesda Row with “Devil Wears Prada” author Lauren Weisberger, who signed copies of her latest novel, “When Life Gives You Lululemons.”
The event began with an hour-long yoga session. Each participant was given a bright yellow yoga mat and a shoulder bag. Then it was on to brunch, hosted by Mon Ami Gabi, with champagne, mimosas, bloody Marys, quiches, bite-sized croquet-monsieurs and waffle bites with whipped cream.
Bethesda Row retailers offered participants store discounts and gave each a large glittery gold or silver swag bag filled with a large-brimmed sun hat, dark glasses and a copy of Weisberger’s book. In between signing copies, the vivacious author chatted and took selfies with her fans during the last hour of the event.
“When Life Gives You Lululemons” is labeled “A Devil Wears Prada Novel.” It picks up on the life of the now married but still edgy and ambitious Emily Charlton. It’s 10 years after she was the infamous first secretary of fearsome and powerful fashion-magazine editor Miranda Priestly, played by Meryl Streep in the movie adaptation.
Why did Weisberger choose to follow Charlton in her new book and not the two main characters of “Devil” — Priestly or “smart but fat” (size 4) new assistant Andy Sachs, played by Anne Hathaway?
“Because Emily was my favorite character in the book,” Weisberger told The Georgetowner with a grin. The movie turned her into a snappy British girl because actress Emily Blunt had a British accent. “But she was perfect for the part,” said the author.
Weisberger grew up in Pennsylvania — Scranton, then Allentown — and attended Cornell University. There, she relates in her bio, “she focused her energy on securing a steady stream of fake IDs and dating boys from the right fraternities.”
After graduation and months of travel in Europe and the Middle and Far East, she moved to Manhattan and became assistant to Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour (after whom, it seems evident, she modeled Priestly). At Vogue, Weisberger writes, she “became proficient in the language of stilettos and Starbucks before moving to Departures magazine, where she wrote 100-word reviews by day and took writing classes at night.”
The success of the 2003 book and, three years later, the film changed her life. “I basically can do anything I want,” she shrugged.
What she wants to do is to keep on writing and reflecting the places she lives and the life she experiences. “Lululemons” takes place in Greenwich, Connecticut, where Weisberger now lives. The characters juggle sophisticated lives of motherhood, formerly high-powered careers, striving husbands and at times vicious competition. Weisberger writes about it with snappy wit and constantly moving drama.
“Let’s be clear,” begins the new book. “Emily Charlton does not do the suburbs. After leaving Miranda Priestly, she’s been working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily’s lost a few clients. She’s hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now.”