Out writer and critic Ingrid Sischy has died

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Today the world lost Ingrid Sischy, a longtime out writer and critic whose longtime relationship with partner Sandy Brant was professional as well as personal. They met while working at Interview magazine, which Ingrid took over from creator Andy Warhol after his death in 1987. Together they are also the godparents of Elton John and David Furnish‘s son, Zachary.

Sandy and Ingrid in April 20152015 Tribeca Film Festival - Vanity Fair Party - Inside Arrivals

As an international editor of Vanity Fair, 63-year-old Ingrid was close with the magazine’s editor Graydon Carter, who shared some sweet words about his friend and her surviving partner today:

Over the years their relationship became more personal, and once together, they became inseparable. It was rare to see one without the other. At the end, they had been together for 25 years, and married for the last couple of weeks. They lived well, dividing their time between a big Stanford White summer cottage far out on the tip of Long Island, and a town house in Greenwich Village. I live nearby and would regularly see them at restaurants in the neighborhood, much the way you bump into people in a small town. I remember going to dinner at their place soon after they moved in. It was a small group: just the three of us and Julian Schnabel and his then wife Olatz. Ingrid and Sandy were not teetotalers, but they weren’t big drinkers either, and their bar, such as it was, could only be described as threadbare. The next day I had a proper line-up of necessary liquor delivered as a housewarming gift.

Throughout her life, Ingrid worked as a cultural critic for publications such as ArtForum, The New York Times and The New Yorker. She contributed to books like Dior Couture, Cartier I Love You, Donna Karan and Jeff Koons. She was also an artistic director of the 1996 Florence Fashion Biennale and was well-respected in the world of fashion. In an interview with The Advocate, she commented on the affect gay liberation had on fashion:

“First, I’d like to mention that the effect of gay liberation on fashion is certainly not confined to designers who are gay. Gay liberation affected the whole world. … But the fact is that for gay male designers like these, fashion is really an expression of one’s gayness. Whereas for gay women, fashion hasn’t been the same kind of issue. It’s been a big psychological issue because of what fashion doesn’t offer us — designer labels have not been where lesbians have looked to identify themselves. There has been a lot of frustration that our only symbols have been been the man’s jacket and the man’s suit. I suspect that Gertrude Stein opted for tweed and dowdiness because she didn’t have a lot of choices when she went shopping.”

In the same interview, she mentions having a conversation about shopping with k.d. lang. (Turns out k.d. loves Prada.) 

2014 Tribeca Film Festival - "Dior and I"

A feminist who was out for her entire career and celebrated sex and sexuality in her work, Ingrid was a facet of New York culture, contributing to ideas of ’90s ideas around lesbian chic and conversations around women in publishing, as well as supporter of women in the arts. In 2013, she was honored with the Fashion Scoop of the Year award for her Vanity Fair piece, Galliano in the Wilderness.In her acceptance speech, she ended with the line, “Speaking of home, thank you, Sandy.”

What’s notable about a figure like Ingrid, whose accolades and social network might make her seem like she might have been accompanied by an air of arrogance, would be pleased to know that those that called themselves her colleagues and friends would say it couldn’t be farther from the truth. From a New York Magazine profile:

None of this (this “negativity,” as Elton says) is part of Ingrid’s M.O., or, in fact, her personality. There really is not a sense when you’re with Ingrid or even when you’re reading Interview of celebrities and noncelebrities, or, as they might say in art criticism, hierarchality. In a way, Ingrid and Interview occupy a much more generous world than the one in which we live. There are no celebrities in Ingrid’s world, because everyone is a celebrity; no talented people, because everyone is talented; no beautiful people, because everyone is beautiful.

Ingrid passed away after a bout with breast cancer at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. This fall, her foreword will appear in Catherine Opie‘s new book, 700 Nimes Road. She will be missed.