A Look at Plum Sykes’ Stylish Whirlwind Weekend in SF

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Plum Sykes
Plum Sykes

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

When one of Vogue’s most beloved editors comes to San Francisco, the city’s fashionable females will flock to her side. Such was the case late last week when Plum Sykes, a contributing editor to the magazine and novelist, was in town to promote her new book, Party Girls Die in Pearls. Think of Sykes as a real life Carrie Bradshaw, albeit with a British accent. While Sarah Jessica Parker’s famed character was onscreen attending parties and fashion shows with newspapers chronicling her every move, Sykes was doing the exact same thing—but in real life. Today, she’s swapped her Pimm’s for Perrier and lives with her husband and two children in the English countryside. It’s been 14 years since her first novel, Bergdorf Blondes, was published and 11 since her second book, The Debutante Divorcée, hit the shelves—and the fashion literary world is salivating over what Sykes has to offer next.

book

Party Girls Die in Pearls is a “comedy murder mystery. The description I love the most for it is Clueless meets Agatha Christie,” Sykes told Haute Living on Friday afternoon over tea at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown San Francisco. “Those are two of my favorite genres of entertainment. The ditzy fun girls and a little bit of murder mystery.” The book takes place at Oxford University in the 1980s. The two heroines, one is British and one is American, arrive for their freshman year and quickly come across a dead body that happens to be impeccably dressed. Sykes spent two years writing the tome—with much of that time devoted to research. She read books about crime writing written by crime writers, spoke with girls who were in their first year at Oxford, consulted with scientists who were knowledgable on the best types of ways to murder someone without ruining a Versace dress, and devoured old gossip columns from the university’s newspaper.

Plum Sykes attends the Spring Gala at the de Young Museum
Plum Sykes attends the Spring Gala at the de Young Museum

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Sykes says that she wanted the mystery to be “light, frothy, and fun” and the same adjectives can be used to describe the author. She’s active on Instagram—communicating with her followers and constantly posting to her story—and was eager to meet and greet her Bay Area fans. There were two chances to do so: the first was a posh champagne soirée at Burberry and the second was a traditional signing at Book Passage in the Ferry Building. The Burberry event was hosted by Vanessa Getty, Kathryn Lasater, Allison Speer, and Alexis Traina. Roll call of the stylish crew in attendance? Sobia Shaikh, Sonya Molodetskaya, Farah Markas, Leslie Podell, and Alicia Engstrom. Sykes also stopped by Hero Shop, another Vogue writer, Emily Holt’s Tenderloin boutique, climbed Mount Tam with girlfriends, and sat at Getty’s table at the Spring Gala on Saturday night.

Alicia Engstrom, Meredith Melling and Kathryn Retzer attend the Burberry SF launch of 'Party Girls Die in Pearls'
Alicia Engstrom, Meredith Melling and Kathryn Retzer attend the Burberry SF launch of ‘Party Girls Die in Pearls’

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Although she is having a grand old time, Sykes is conscious of the book’s reception. “It’s really difficult having a book come out, to be honest,” she said. “One minute it’s all great and you’ve got a lovely review on Amazon and the next minute, someone’s written ‘no stars, I threw it in the bin!’ You have to try and say, you pretend to your self, it doesn’t bother me if someone, who reviews a loo brush and washing powder, says they hate my book, but you know what? It goes right to your heart like a dagger. It’s true!” She promises that the book is the first in a three part series and the lovable main character will be back in the future. The public’s reception of the upcoming novels remains a mystery, but one thing is for sure. Sykes will be interacting with her devoted fans—being her fabulous self—along the way. “What is very interesting is, this is very San Francisco tech, all these people are writing to me on Instagram,” she says with a smile. “They are not going to Amazon, they are writing to me, they want me to know they love it and I love that.”

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