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Encyclopedia > Plum Sykes

Victoria "Plum" Sykes is a British-born fashion-writer, novelist and New York socialite. "Plum" was a childhood nickname (the Victoria plum being a variety of that fruit). Flag Seal Nickname: The Big Apple, The Capital of the World[1], Gotham Location Location in the state of New York Government Counties (Boroughs) Bronx (The Bronx) New York (Manhattan) Queens (Queens) Kings (Brooklyn) Richmond (Staten Island) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Geographical characteristics Area    - City 1,214. ... A socialite is a person (male or female, but more often used for a woman) of social prominence who is considered to be an influential social figure. ... Species See text. ...


Early years

Sykes was born in London on 4 December 1969, one of six children, and grew up in Sevenoaks, Kent. Among her friends at Ide Hill Church of England primary school was Rowan Pelling (b.1968), who became the editor of the Erotic Review (see Daily Telegraph, 21 April 2005). From there she went to Sevenoaks School, an independent school founded in the 15th century, and thence to Worcester College, Oxford in 1988, where she graduated in modern history. December 4 is the 338th day (339th on leap years) of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1969 (MCMLXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1969 calendar). ... Sevenoaks is a town in Kent, in south-east England. ... Kent is a county in England, south-east of London. ... Ide Hill is a village in Kent, standing on one of the highest points of the sandstone ridge about five miles south-west of Sevenoaks. ... Rowan Pelling (born 1968 in Kent) is a female British journalist and broadcaster, who first achieved note as the second editor (or editrice, to use her term) of a monthly literary/erotic magazine (now quarterly), entitled the Erotic Review. ... April 21 is the 111th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (112th in leap years). ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Old School Sevenoaks School is an English independent school, located in the town of Sevenoaks, Kent. ... Worcester College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. ...

Sykes' mother was the dress designer, Valerie Goad, from whom her father Mark, an old Etonian, separated while Plum was at Oxford. Her grandfather, Christopher Sykes (1907–1986), was a friend and official biographer (1975) of the novelist Evelyn Waugh and son of the diplomat Sir Mark Sykes, sixth baronet (1869–1919), associated with the so-called Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, by which Britain and France provided for the partition of the Ottoman empire after the end of the First World War. Evelyn Waugh, as photographed in 1940 by Carl Van Vechten Arthur Evelyn St. ... Sir Mark Sykes, 6th Baronet (16 March 1879 - 16 February 1919) was an English traveller and diplomatic advisor, particularly about matters respecting the Middle East at the time of World War One. ... Zones of French and British influence and control established by the Sykes-Picot Agreement The Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 16, 1916 was a secret understanding between the governments of Britain and France defining their respective spheres of post-World War I influence and control in the Middle East. ...

London and New York

Plum Sykes became a fashion assistant at British Vogue where, in 1993, she was featured with, among others, designer Bella Freud and model Stella Tennant in Babes in London, a photographic shoot by the American Steven Meisel (responsible in 1992 for the singer Madonna's controversial collection, Sex), which was produced by the rising fashion guru Isabella Blow. Bella Freud is a London based fashion designer with a number of celebrity clients. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Madonna Ciccone Madonna Louise Ciccone (born August 16, 1958 in Bay City, Michigan), simply known by the stage name Madonna, also occasionally referred to as Madonna Ciccone Ritchie, is an American singer frequently referred to as the Queen of Pop music. ... Mylar cover wrapping of Sex by Madonna Sex is the title of a 1992 coffee table-size book written by Madonna with photographs by Steven Meisel which accompanied the release of her fifth studio album Erotica. ... Isabella Blow is a magazine editor and style icon based in the United Kingdom. ...

In 1996 Sykes became a contributing editor on fashion for American Vogue, of which Anna Wintour, also British, had been editor since 1988. She became a familiar figure on the New York social scene, being frequently described as an "It girl" (e.g., New York Magazine, 5 April 2004; Observer, 16 May 2004). New York was the setting for her first novel, Bergdorf Blondes (2004), which was one of the most successful examples of "chick lit" (or "chic lit" as some dubbed Sykes' writing) and sold a quarter of a million copies worldwide. A second novel, The Debutante Divorcée, was published in 2006. Claudia Schiffer and Anna Wintour (right) Anna Wintour, born November 3, 1949 in London, England, is the Editor-in-Chief of the U.S. edition of Vogue, a position she has held since 1988. ... An It girl is a young woman famed for her good looks, charm and sexual magnetism, but in recent years has come to describe a young starlet who has recently broken into mainstream cinema. ... April 5 is the 95th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (96th in leap years). ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... May 16 is the 136th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (137th in leap years). ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Chick lit is a term used to denote a genre of popular fiction written for and marketed to young women, especially single, working women in their twenties. ... Chic is a French word, established in English since at least the 1870s, that has come to mean smart or stylish. ...

Some have seen Sykes' books as lying in natural succession to Sex and the City, Candace Bushnell's column in the New York Observer, which was the inspiration for a highly successful television series (HBO 1998–2004). However, others have regarded them as too rooted in Sykes' own Park Avenue "set" to be reflective more generally of women's lives in post-9/11 Manhattan (e.g., "Plum duff", Private Eye, 26 May 2006). Anita Loos' Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925) is perhaps a closer, if incomparable, antecedent. Sykes hereslf has been compared to Holly Golightly, the character in Truman Capote's novel, Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958), who was immortalised on film in 1961 by Audrey Hepburn (see Gaby Wood, Observer, 14 May 2006). Sex and the City was a popular American cable television program based on the book of the same name by Candace Bushnell. ... Candace Bushnell (born December 1, 1959 in Glastonbury, Connecticut) is a writer based in New York City. ... Park Avenue in the Upper East Side (2004) Park Avenue runs north and south between Madison Avenue and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan in New York City. ... The explosion resulting from the crashing of United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower. ... The Borough of Manhattan, highlighted in yellow, lies between the East River and the Hudson River. ... May 26 is the 146th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (147th in leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Anita Loos (April 26, 1889 – August 18, 1981) was an acclaimed American screenwriter, playwright and author. ... Truman García Capote (pronounced ) (September 30, 1924 – August 25, 1984) was an American writer whose non-fiction, stories, novels and plays are recognized literary classics. ... Breakfast at Tiffanys is a novella by Truman Capote, published in 1958. ... Hepburn in her breakthrough film, Roman Holiday (1953). ... May 14 is the 134th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (135th in leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


In 2005 Sykes married the entrepreneur Toby Rowland, son of businessman "Tiny" Rowland, at Sledmere House (1751), her family's ancestral home in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Her dress was designed by her friend, Alexander McQueen, of whom she was sometimes described as a muse. Roland Tiny Rowland (1917 - 1998) was a British businessman and chairman of the Lonrho conglomerate from 1962 to 1994. ... Alexander McQueen (born Lee McQueen, 17 March 1969) is one of the most influential English fashion designers. ... MuSE is an acronym that stands for Multiple Streaming Engine. ...

Sykes' twin sister Lucy, who also moved to New York in 1996, became fashion director of Marie Claire, and later a designer of children's clothes. In the late 1990s Plum and Lucy were sometimes referred to as the "twin set", Plum later joking, with reference to the heiresses Paris and Nicky Hilton, that "Lucy and I were Paris and Nicky without the sextape" (New York Magazine, loc. cit.) (an allusion to the posting on the Internet in 2003 of a video recording purportedly of Paris Hilton and a former boyfriend, Rick Salomon). For the hotel in Paris, France, see Hilton Paris. ... Nicholai Olivia Hilton (born October 5, 1983) is an American model and heiress to a part of the Hilton Hotel chain, as well as to about 5%-15% of her fathers real estate fortune and investments. ... Rick Salomon is best known for his relationships with various female celebrities. ...

Novels written under the name Plum Sykes

  • Bergdorf Blondes (2004)
  • The Debutate Divorcée (2006)

Further references

  • "Victoria's secret" — Hedley Freeman in the Guardian, 17 April 2004
  • "My best friends, the ultimate It girls" — Rowan Pelling in the Daily Telegraph, 21 April 2005
  • "Victoria's secrets" — Gaby Wood in the Observer, 14 May 2006

  Results from FactBites:
Telegraph | News (1345 words)
Plum Sykes, the new darling of New York society, may not be from Park Avenue but like the spoilt heroines in her new hit novel she is, finds Charlotte Edwardes, a 'princess'
The social cachet that surrounds Plum Sykes is such that it seems there is scarcely a television talk show or a magazine spread of late in which she has not featured, a society soiree at which she has not appeared.
Sykes seems to have fallen from grace and is no longer Ms Wintour's favoured lunch partner at the chic Da Silvano in New York, nor is she any longer the chief fashion writer for American Vogue.
  More results at FactBites »



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