Fifteen fashion articles from Kazanjian, a senior writer at Vogue (and coauthor with Calvin Tomkins of Alex: The Life of Alexander Liberman, 1993). Life's necessities as described in the pages of Vogue, where most of Kazanjian's articles originated, are not the same as life's necessities everywhere else. So when Kazanjian announces that a Chanel suit is ""one of those big events in a woman's life, like getting married or having a child,"" her forays into fashion become either a diverting insider's catalogue to the essential classics of the late 20th century (the Armani jacket, the little black dress) or an anthropological safari to a narcissistic tribe where females feel incomplete unless their lipstick is enwombed in the handmade pocket of a Hermes Kelly bag (priced from $2,500 for the mini). Or perhaps they're a bit of both, because Kazanjian presents herself as an outsider (albeit one with a closet filled with Saint Laurents, Geoffrey Beenes, and her very own Chanel). Our guide to couture, she gives us entrâ€še to famous studios, ateliers, and closets and introduces us to design stars like Isaac Mizrahi and Manolo Blahnik. She both celebrates and satirizes. Though Kazanjian goes all the way to Milan to bring back her own pair of Blahnik mules, she caricatures the designer mercilessly; he is her book's buffoon. But she satirizes herself as well, telling how she brutally trims inches from her genetically uncooperative thighs. Kazanjian is a fast mind on a fast track: She understands the lure of couture. Her essays investigate and inform, providing appropriate fashion history, market figures, and interviews with ""fashion insiders."" Accessorized with original sketches by designers such as Armani and Vera Wang, Kazanjian's fall collection is lightweight and savvy. Those who aren't appalled will be amused.