The style world's "tiny dork"

A star is born at New York's fashion week. Oh yeah: She's 13

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published September 23, 2009 10:15AM (EDT)

The big breakout of New York's fashion week wasn't a hot new designer or even a fresh-faced model. No, the person U.K. Guardian deemed its “true star” was the brains behind the popular Style Rookie blog, a young woman who unself-consciously describes herself as a “tiny dork.” She's Tavi Gevinson, and she's 13.

Since Gevinson started her blog two years ago, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind Rodarte, have become her fans, and she's charmed Marc Jacobs, despite calling one of her own more outrageous ensembles “old lady/Marc Jacobs-y.” So last week, Gevinson played hooky from her suburban Chicago school to dispense sound bites to the likes of Pixie Geldof and be squired around by her dad to the Bryant Park shows.

The world of fashion isn't highly prized for its depth, sincerity or kindness. Girls of Tavi's age involved in it are usually strutting the catwalk in lingerie. That's why fashion's embrace of Gevinson is such a sweet surprise. There's nothing of the early Paris Hilton or Kardashian in her blog and her quirky style. Instead, she's a girl who explains her rise to the cover of POP magazine with a “So, duh, I said yes,” a girl who can deck herself out in couture frippery but still wryly pronounce, “I was not enthralled with the sweatshirt corset.”

It's possible the Gevinson blog is an elaborate conspiracy by Seventh Avenue muckety-mucks to make the Twitter generation give a damn about overpriced MC Hammer pants. But maybe Gevinson is the real deal -- someone smart and enthusiastic with an eye for trends and a much-needed sense of humor about the industry that gave us Anna Wintour. On her blog this week, she wrote that she's getting used to being back after her adventures in Gotham. And what's the young trendsetter's latest obsession? “I'm excited to come home and not have to do anything but normal homework and stuff,” she says. “I'm excited to clean my room.”

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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