Charla Krupp, fashion writer and adviser, dies at 58
Beauty books come and go, traded for younger models. But Charla Krupp’s “How Not to Look Old” has remained a bible for women since its 2008 publication.
The book spent 18 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, sold more than 300,000 copies and inspired Krupp’s 2010 follow-up, “How to Never Look Fat Again,” which spent four weeks on the best seller list.
Ms. Krupp, 58, died of breast cancer on Monday, Jan. 23. She was a resident of Manhattan and Sagaponack, N.Y., and was married to Richard Zoglin, Time magazine’s theater critic and an author.
Ms. Krupp grew up in Wilmette, Ill., and graduated from New Trier West High School. She then earned a journalism degree with Bronze Tablet honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was editor of the Daily Illini. She moved to New York to start an internship at Mademoiselle before graduation ceremonies in 1975.
Over the next few decades, she wrote and edited entertainment and beauty features at Glamour, InStyle, Shop Etc., More and People StyleWatch magazines. She appeared more than 130 times as a “Today” show contributor and lent support to other women in the media.
When Cindi Leive, editor in chief of Glamour, started working as an assistant at the magazine, Ms. Krupp was entertainment editor.
“And I thought she was perhaps the most capital-‘F’-fabulous person I had ever met,” Leive said. “She got highlights before anyone I knew did. She got her nails done on a weekly basis before anyone I knew got regular manicures.
“There was a signed picture of her and Madonna together on her desk and she had special light bulbs in her lamps and feathers in the decor. I just thought she was the most glamorous person I had ever seen, and nothing I ever encountered of her after that changed my mind.”
A self-described beauty addict, Ms. Krupp loved little luxuries and became Glamour’s beauty director.
“But the thing that hit you about Charla when you worked with her was what a hard worker she was,” Leive said. “She was this beautiful woman interviewing celebrities, getting fantastic beauty treatments, and yet she would literally be sitting cross-legged in her office chair at 9 o’clock at night checking her copy. She sweated every detail.”
Leive remembered Ms. Krupp assembling a goodie basket for a colleague who had lost her job. When another colleague was sick, Krupp bought a cashmere shawl and brought it to her at her home.
“She was really warm and attentive and even after we no longer worked together, she and I worked to establish a scholarship in the name of our former mentor (former Glamour editor) Ruth Whitney,” Leive said. “She was very determined that our former boss, who had passed away, would be remembered. That was the kind of person she was — the best combination of hard-working, salt-of-the-earth good-hearted, and also just fabulously glam.”
Through the years, Ms. Krupp often enlisted friends and family members for research on various beauty products.
“We had so much fun testing out the products. We’d have one type of makeup on this side of the face and another on that side,” said her cousin, Lisa Schatz Glinsky. “And she credits everybody in the book — even if you put mascara on one eye or polish on one nail, she didn’t miss a thank-you for anybody.”
One of Ms. Krupp’s “Today” show segments led to calls from publishers proposing a book on jeans.
“And Charla, in her expansive way, said, ‘Why don’t we look at every element of what a woman wears and how she can look young with every aspect?’” recalled Karen Murgolo, vice president and editorial director at Grand Central Life & Style, which won out over other publishers interested in what became “How Not to Look Old.”
“It’s still one of the best proposals I’ve seen,” Murgolo said. “First of all, she delivered it with flair, by sending it in a pink shopping bag with pink lipstick and pink tissue paper so you immediately took notice of it among all the other proposals.”
But Ms. Krupp wrote for the average woman, not just fashionistas, said Murgolo, who still hears of women giving it to friends on major birthdays.
“I had a woman who said her sister was a professor and never wore makeup but she still bought the book — because she still has to wear clothes and shoes,” Murgolo said. “And it was a genius title. It’s still selling well.”
In 2009, Ms. Krupp was inducted into the University of Illinois’ Illini Media Hall of Fame.
She also is survived by her mother, Esther Krupp; a sister, Lora Nasby; and a brother, Jay Krupp.
A funeral service was scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Goldman Funeral Home, 8851 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, Ill. A memorial service in New York is being planned.