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Q&A: What makes a lady 'Classy'? Derek Blasberg knows

May 6, 2010 | 10:00 am

Classy_NYT Derek Blasberg's social calendar reads like WWD's "Eye" column or a Bravo reality series and an episode of  "Gossip Girl" rolled into one. Before you ask, "Derek who?," we'll tell you: Blasberg is a New York-based fashion scribe for Style.com and V Magazine, who made a boldface name of himself after escorting A-list celebrities such as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Emma Watson and Chloe Sevigny on the global society whirl.

Blasberg decided to parlay his time spent on the arms of social butterflies into an etiquette book, "Classy," positioning himself as a latter-day Emily Post, who advises what one should or not tweet or upload to Facebook.

Tonight, Blasberg is in L.A. for a "Classy" book party hosted by Kate Bosworth, Nicole Richie and Margherita Missoni. He took time out of his coast-to-coast book tour to speak with All the Rage.

All the Rage: Who's a contemporary classy lady?

Emma Watson -- the girl from Harry Potter films. She just turned 20. She's part of the biggest movie franchise of the last decade but still seems to have to her head on her shoulders. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are two self-made, hardworking, diligent young girls. Kate Bosworth. Nicole Richie was sort of trampy in her childhood but is now a full-on lady.

I know we’ve been bombarded with images of less than classy ladies -- a lot of reality skanks.

Did your ever envision yourself as an etiquette expert?

My parents bought me Tiffany’s Table Manners for Teenagers. When I was a little boy, I was aware of my manners.

I approach being a lady from different perspectives: How one should look -- personal style. How one should set up a dinner. How should you behave at the airport. How to interact with fellow girlfriends and gentleman callers. And how to handle vices.

Do you consider yourself a latter-day Truman Capote? (There is a section in "Classy" devoted to "Famous GBFs" -- gay best friends -- to prominent women such as Elton John, Andy Warhol and Truman Capote.)

I heard that comparison before and it sort of makes me squirm. Truman Capote defined a whole genre of literature -- the nonfiction novel. He was a lot more successful than I am at my age.

I’m not begging a socialite or actress to walk the red carpet. The people I’m hanging out with are friends of mine. I enjoy their company.

How did you know you became a social fixture?

I used to be a plus-one and now I get the invitation myself.

What do you never leave home without?

My BlackBerry. I do everything with my phone except talk to people.

What should every woman have in her closet?

Good pair of jeans, a trench coat, a cardigan, big pair of glasses and great pair of shoes.

Any designers?

Oh nooooo, there’s so many of them. Wear what makes you feel good -- wear designers that fit the bill.

What's your advice to young women in an age of social networking on the Internet?

The Internet never forgets. A good rule of thumb is never put a picture up that you wouldn’t want your mother to see. Never put up a story or a rumor you wouldn’t want your grandma reading on her laptop. Once that’s out, you will never be able to control it again.

A college admissions office can look them up. You apply for a job and there's a picture of you on spring break with a beer bong.

-- Max Padilla

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Photo "Classy" book courtesy of Razorbill/Penguin

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