Though she now lives in Paris, Ms. Fraser-Cavassoni, 54 (“Studio 54,” she said), had returned to New York, where she worked and caroused decades ago, to promote her new autobiography, “After Andy: Adventures in Warhol Land.” This she is doing with the fervor she learned canvasing for her father, and a refreshing frankness. For example: “I did cocaine, and I don’t regret that.”
She was hired by Andy Warhol days before his death in 1987, back when the words “coffee shop” indicated not Starbucks nor Stumptown, but a Greek diner like one of his favorites, Three Guys, down the street.
“There was something about Andy and his lot that was Knights of the Roundtable-ish,” Ms. Fraser-Cavassoni said. “I love all those knights, and the dark knights, like Larry Gagosian,” the art dealer.
She has written several previous books, including one about the producer Sam Spiegel, another former employer. But this one fills in most colorfully the lines of her own life, offering a dollybird’s-eye view of, among other matters, her mother’s affair with the playwright Harold Pinter.
“She’s very stoic,” Ms. Fraser-Cavassoni said. “She’s got this thing, ‘what can’t be cured has to be endured,’ and my generation, we’re the moaners.”
Though Mr. Pinter eventually became her stepfather, her literary tastes ran more toward another Harold — Robbins.
“He really had a grasp of how people could have it all, and it was never enough,” she said.
Before marrying Jean-Pierre Cavassoni, she had high-profile dalliances of her own, with Mick Jagger and the punk polymath Malcolm McLaren, who said “‘I love you, Natasha, because you take the cobwebs out of my brain,’” she recalled. “How many times did I hear about Sid Vicious’s mother carrying around his ashes and dropping them in the fish and chip shop?” She made a brisk “get on with it” motion.
On her right wrist glittered a bracelet of facing serpent’s heads, a gift to her mother from the English decorator Nicky Haslam, which Ms. Fraser-Cavassoni purloined in part because it reminded her of her twin teenage daughters, born in the Year of the Snake. “Sometimes they hiss,” she said. On the table idled a Chanel purse circa 1990, covered in Warhol-inspired splotches, the spoils of an apprenticeship to Karl Lagerfeld. “From the first collection I worked on,” Ms. Fraser-Cavassoni said. “Isn’t that funny?”
A plate of cookies had been brought over. Ms. Fraser-Cavassoni ignored them but insisted the maître d’ let her take a photo of “After Andy” in the pastry case, artfully nestled between the profiteroles and the opera cakes.
She strode out onto Madison Avenue, toward the Brutalist but blissfully chilled building of the Met Breuer, the contemporary outpost of the Metropolitan Museum that once housed the Whitney Museum of American Art. There were major Warhol shows there in 1971 and 1979, the latter including a series about Mr. Jagger.
Today Ms. Fraser-Cavassoni was pleased to see an exhibition devoted to the Austrian-Italian architect Ettore Sottsass, the founder of the Memphis Group of design championed by Mr. Lagerfeld and another mutual friend, Jean Pigozzi, the businessman and collector who once held a majority interest in Spy magazine.
“I spent a weekend with him — several, actually,” she said of Mr. Sottsass, stepping into the large elevator.
Upstairs, her peep-toe espadrilles padding quietly on the stone floors, Ms. Fraser-Cavassoni examined a large abstract necklace (“kind of Egyptian,” she said) and some garish prints. “I feel for very rich people, art is their couture,” she said. “I can’t afford it.”
There was a dresser in the shape of an ornate cathedral laid on its side, and a rather penitent-looking single bed. “I’m tempted to lie on that,” she said, “but I won’t.”
On a nearby screen, images of Mr. Sottsass with Einstein-like mustache were flashing. “He was grumpy,” Ms. Fraser-Cavassoni whispered. “I remember him saying in Italian that I spoke too much.”
But when a 1999 drawing of his titled “Electronic Instruments For the Production of the Ego” popped up, she turned magnanimous.
As with Warhol, she said, “I didn’t realize to what point he was prophetlike.”