Publishers V Lotus Club

By Kathryn Comment

From the new NY Observer comes this strange little piece about rainstorms, Sonny Mehta, and blue jeans. If there’s a thesis at all buried in here it’s that the relaxing of publishing’s dress code has finally outpaced (or, more literally, outstripped?) New York City’s.

Sara Nelson, the new editor in chief of Publisher’s Weekly, said she was awed by the turnout for her coronation party at the Lotus Club on East 66th Street Monday night. “It was incredibly meaningful to me that all those people came,” Ms. Nelson said. “It was the kind of night you wouldn’t go out if you didn’t really want to.”

But not everyone who came out was able to get out of the rain. At least four publishing heavyweights were stopped from joining the 250 guests inside because they arrived in blue jeans.

Grove /Atlantic president Morgan Entrekin and Alfred A. Knopf editor in chief Sonny Mehta ran afoul of the Lotus dress code, as did Julie Grau, publisher of an imprint for Penguin, and agent Todd Siegel of Franklin and Siegel associates.

Mr. Mehta’s assistant said he had complained to her about it when he got into work the next morning. “More than a few people got turned away,” she said her boss told her.”The Lotus Club has a dress code, that’s sort of common knowledge.”

Not common enough, apparently–and nowhere to be found on the invitation.

Said Mr. Entrekin: “I wasn’t dressed appropriately, so I wasn’t allowed in. It was a little frustrating on a rainy night, but to tell you the truth I had a lot of work to do anyway. I would have loved to celebrate with Sara, but I should’ve obeyed the rules. You know, I kind of like that places like that still exist. And I’ve been to that place many, many times, so I should’ve known.”

Anyway, he said, “I heard it was a good party.”

“Gosh, it was just shocking,” said Ms. Grau. “I didn’t make it past the stony-faced people at the front desk. I left and Sonny was standing under an awning waiting for his car. I said, ‘Where are we?’ And he said, ‘Things like this happen on East 66th Street.’”