French fashionista, addicted to sea water, is sent to rehab

Like Tina Brown, the American Joan Juliet Buck is a name from the days when magazines were a force to be reckoned with. Her memoir of editing Paris Vogue is out now in paperback, although even scanning the index of her book requires immediate rest on a priceless chaise longue, such is the intensity with which names drop on the reader (her friend Karl Lagerfeld made her wedding dress, Manolo Blahnik was her attendant, ooh look here’s Picasso etc etc).

The Price of Illusion is a terrific account of the icy weirdness of French fashion magazines, a run that for her came to a screeching halt just as another “Fashion Week” was about to begin. Instead of insincerely applauding the first of many creations on the catwalk, she found herself packed off to rehab and out of a job, even though she says she had neither drink nor drug issues.

One product she did have a strong attraction to though, was something called “Serum de Quinton”, also known as seawater, which she claimed to take to balance her electrolytes.

Evil gossips mistook the oddly shaped glass vials for syringes when she left her job – “One editor said you opened your Fendi tote and the syringes just rolled out,” she reports.

Serum de Quinton, though, is far odder than any simple narcotic. And possibly even more strange than the whole world of French fashion. Claiming on its Google entry to be “possibly the most important discovery ever”, it goes on to claim on its website that “The innate ability of seawater to support the body through recovery to optimal health is once again being recognised and backed by science.” Hmm. There are reams of “science” testifying as to the importance of “Quinton marine products”, although there doesn’t appear to be any clear proof of the benefits among the “‘zinc finger’ proteins”, “metabolomics” and other creative writings.

Miss Buck went on to clear rehab satisfactorily and go on to write for American Vogue, where she had the bad luck to write a flattering profile of Mrs Bashar al-Assad right before her husband started murdering those Syrian citizens he couldn’t be bothered to first torture. Whispers say that she was herself set up by those eager to see her fail, but as the UN is unavailable to rule on that issue, it will have to remain as rumour.

Miss Buck meanwhile now lives in upstate New York, where to the envy of Strong Words she owns a library of 7,000 volumes. 

The Price of Illusion by Joan Juliet Buck is published by Washington Square Press, £12.96