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THE WARHOL QUESTIONNAIRE: Christene Barberich

“The most fashionable girls around town now are the girls of the night. They wear the most fashionable clothes,” Andy Warhol wrote in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again. Christene Barberich, the editor-in-chief of Refinery 29, knows a thing or two about the latest trends, being that she runs “a lifestyle platform that delivers nonstop inspiration to live a more stylish and creative life”, as her website proudly states.

We’d like to think Andy would appreciate Barberich’s vision. At the very least, he’d be appreciative of her popularity, since Refinery 29 boasts one billion page views a year. “We infiltrate so many other parts of our readers’ lives beyond just clothes,” Barberich told Lauren Murrow in an interview with New York Magazine. We’re celebrating tastemakers and style icons in our new online-only auction, Warhol @ Christie’s: Always in Fashion (October 9-21), and we’re revisiting this interview we conducted last year with one of our favorite fashion mavens. Below, Barberich dishes on Diana Vreeland, ABBA’s hits, and self-esteem.

 

What was your first Warholian moment, and when did you first encounter him?
“It’s really hard to pin-point the MOMENT. I guess, though, as a teenager, in the ’80s, when everything in my life had to be saturated in bright colors and bold iconography, I remember being very drawn to those psychedelic grid images of Diane von Furstenberg or (hah!) Sigourney Weaver in the movie Working Girl. I will say, though, growing up on Long Island, I was always captivated by his house in Montauk…he was out there a million years before it was cool, when it was still wild and other-worldly. When Micky Drexler of J.Crew told me he’d bought that house, I almost fainted.”

 

What are your latest cultural obsessions?
“It’s more a constant than latest, but Terry Gross’s NPR show, Fresh Air. Many of them, like her last interview with Maurice Sendak, I listen to over and over again. And probably Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen…he reminds me how important it is not to give a shit what people think.”

 

What would you consider Warhol’s most memorable quote or anthem?
Sometimes you’re invited to a big ball and for months you think about how glamorous and exciting it’s going to be. Then you fly to Europe and you go to the ball and when you think back on it a couple of months later what you remember is maybe the car ride to the ball, you can’t remember the ball at all. Sometimes the little times you don’t think are anything while they’re happening turn out to be what marks a whole period of your life. I should have been dreaming for months about the car ride to the ball and getting dressed for the car ride, and buying my ticket to Europe so I could take the car ride. Then, who knows, maybe I could have remembered the ball.”

 

If you could collaborate with Andy on a project, what would it be?
“A secret mantra that I would say every day.”

 

Dream night out on the town: you, Warhol, and…?
“Diana Vreeland or The Duchess of Windsor aka Wallis Simpson. Could I bring them both? I have to start planning my outfit right now…”

 

Imagine Warhol had a Twitter account. What kind of thing might he say in 140 characters or less?
“Where have all the pretzels gone…long time passing.”

 

Whose portrait would Andy most want to do now?
Robyn or Kim Kardashian. I would hope for the former but it would likely be the latter.”

 

Favorite local watering hole?
“My kitchen window sill, first. The bar at Rucola in Brooklyn, second.”

 

Best party you ever attended or threw?
“Probably my 38th birthday party that my best friend threw in her old, creaky UWS apartment. There was pasta, a little weed, and a very strange and marvelous impromptu tango that was backlit and performed to the song Dancing Queen. There was a black velvet jumpsuit in there, too. I will never forget it.”

 

Andy once said, “I have social disease. I have to go out every night.” What about you—introvert or extrovert?
“It can go either way, it depends on who’s there and what’s on TV.”

 

Last party tune you downloaded?
“Hot Child In the City by Nick Gilder. Can you dance to that? I think so…”

 

Drag every day or only on special occasions?
“Only on special occasions. I like to have something to look forward to.”

(Photos of Christene by Ben Fink Shapiro.)

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