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Tales from the Back Row

An Outsider's View from Inside the Fashion Industry

About The Book

A keenly observed collection of personal essays about what it’s like to be a young woman working in the fashion industry, Amy Odell’s Tales from the Back Row offers “a backstage pass to the intimidating, backbiting industry” (US Weekly).

In the “funny, insightful” (Harper’s Bazaar) Tales from the Back Row, editor Amy Odell takes readers behind the stage of New York’s hottest fashion shows to meet the world’s most influential models, designers, celebrities, editors, and photographers.

But first, she has to push her way through the crowds outside and weave her way through the packed venue, from the very back row to the front. And as Amy climbs the ladder (with tips about how you can, too), she introduces an industry powered by larger-than-life characters: she meets the intimidating Anna Wintour and the surprisingly gracious Rachel Zoe, not to mention the hilarious Chelsea Handler, and more.

As she describes the allure of Alexander Wang’s ripped tights and Marchesa’s Oscar-worthy dresses, Amy layers in something else: how the fashion industry is an exaggerated mirror of human fallibility—reflecting our desperate desire to belong, to make a mark. In her “light-hearted, cocktail-hour confession from someone who is…sober enough to recognize insanity for what it is” (The Washington Post), Amy is the first to admit that as much as she is embarrassed by the thrill she gets when she receives an invitation to an exclusive after-party, she can’t help but RSVP “yes.” Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of high fashion: “Whether you’re interested in pursuing a career in publishing, public relations, or design, or you’re just fascinated with what really goes on behind-the-scenes without the usual sugarcoating, we’d say this is required reading” (

About The Author

Photo by Arthur Elgort

Amy Odell is a fashion and culture journalist. Her work has appeared in New York magazine, The Economist’s 1843, Bloomberg Businessweek, and numerous other publications. She is the author of Anna and Tales from the Back Row. Find out more at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 1, 2015)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781476749778

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Raves and Reviews

“Self-deprecating and funny.”

– New York Times

"Hilarious, insightful and smart. A must-read for anyone who wears clothes.”

– Chelsea Handler

"Book Report “A” rating...a witty and candid ‘outsider’s view from inside the fashion industry,’ complete with an intimidating Anna Wintour encounter."

– In Touch

"Odell's shamelessly dry, very smart wit is blogger-perfect, but it translates well into writing reverentially and intelligently about fashion. Whether or not you also love to hate or hate to love the fashion world, you will straight-up adore Amy Odell's candid observations and anecdotes culled from her years covering the runways.”

– Bustle, "September 2015’s Best Books"

"This delightful book of essays by editor Amy Odell pulls back the curtain and shows that it’s not always so fabulous climbing the fashion ladder."

– Refinery29, "Fall’s Most Highly Anticipated Nonfiction Reads"

"A funny, insightful debut."

– Harper's Bazaar

“Whether you're interested in pursuing a career in publishing, public relations or design, or you're just fascinated with what really goes on behind-the-scenes without the usual sugarcoating, we'd say this is required reading.”


“A backstage pass to the intimidating, backbiting industry.”

– US Weekly

"Just delicious."

– Book Riot

"A great and almost natural comic narrative, laced with lots of name-dropping, will evoke chuckles—and a sigh of relief that there are no reader portraits."

– Booklist

"Funny, insightful and relatable to pretty much anyone who works in media."


“If you haven’t snagged any invites (to NYFW), let Tales from the Back Row, Editor Amy Odell’s first book, out now, transport you.”

– Trending NY

“TALES FROM THE BACK ROW takes you from the hottest fashion shows to the coolest after parties, along the decidedly unglamorous roads Amy Odell travels to get there. Don’t miss this terrific debut. It’s better than landing the most coveted seat at fashion week.”

– Lauren Weisberger, New York Times bestselling author of Revenge Wears Prada and The Devil Wears Prada

“Amy is one of my favorite people in the fashion industry. She's smart, stylish and simply not a dick.”

– Grace Helbig

"TALES FROM THE BACK ROW is a delicious peek behind the curtain of fame and fashion. Amy Odell doesn't pull any punches—not at the industry, the celebrities circling it, or even at herself—and her insider dish will make you laugh out loud."

– The Fug Girls

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