GLAM SLAM: Big D gets first peek at Simon Doonan’s new book; Barney’s New York creative honcho unveils ‘Eccentric Glamour’ at Fashion at the Park
BY DANIEL KUSNER
At last year’s inaugural season of Fashion at the Park, people were falling out of their chairs while listening to Simon Doonan’s runway commentary for the Barney’s New York show.
As an austere male model made his entrance, Doonan announced, "This is Adolf. He has a compost toilet and is wearing a calfskin-belted waistcoat. I met him this morning at the Westin Center City omelet bar."
And for every garment, Doonan invented hilarious anecdotes and provided the models with wacky fictitious names: One of my favorites was Drusilla.
Doonan’s work is always fun and funny — whether it’s overseeing Barneys’ creative fancy, appearing as a pop-up commentator for VH1 specials or writing books.
His fourth literary endeavor, "Eccentric Glamour: Creating a More Insanely Fabulous You," is scheduled to be released on April 8. And for this year’s Fashion at the Park, Doonan promises he’ll give his first public reading, and the Barney’s show will emulate his new vision.
"At the beginning of the 21st Century, I suddenly woke up and wondered why women were all dressing like pole dancers. If you’re a pole dancer, that’s fine. But if you aren’t, why would you give the impression that you are?" Doonan asks during a recent phone interview.
His problem wasn’t that women looked like whores. It was their slavish dedication to cloning themselves in the tradition of "The Real Housewives of Orange County."
What happened to original style?
"I want to return to a period where women try to distinguish themselves and develop a more idiosyncratic personal style. Celebrities are overly concerned with landing up on the ‘What Were They Thinking?’ page. Their personal style is more about being hypersexual and attractive rather than being interesting," he explains.
So Doonan breaks down his eccentric glam into three archetypes, which can be mixed, matched and changed out — a look for daytime; another for night …
There’s The Socialite:
"Which is a more turned-out look and the most conventional component of eccentric glam. She’s the Palm Beach socialite — very Jackie O. She has a heavy emphasis on designer clothing, but she doesn’t dress like a slut. She’ll carry a vintage Pucci bag and embrace color with a purple Prada coat."
Then there’s The Gypsy:
"Think Stevie Nicks, Isadora Duncan or Mary Kate and Ashley. She’s tempestuous and bohemian.
"The gypsy is firmly rooted in hippie culture. It’s a great look for larger girls. Lots of ethnic fabric. It’s not about looking sexy, but interesting."
Doonan says the smallest but most influential group is The Existentialists.
"Very avant-garde — this would be Nancy Cunard, Siouxsie Sioux, Nina Hagan and let’s not forget Simone de Bouvier. She’s a more hardcore woman who starts trends. This look takes guts. Many musician gals opt for the existentialist look. The existentialists gave birth to the beatniks who gave birth to the punks who gave birth to new wave fashion."
Can the eccentric glam philosophy be applied to Doonan’s gay brothers?
"Being a man is much simpler. The main clothing identities for gay men are preppy or trampy-hustler. They’re either tying to give a WASPy vibe or going for a Dolce & Gabbana southern Italian gigolo look," Doonan says. "But at this point nothing is really in or out anymore. The only faux pas is conformity."
Can guys get away with the slutty look more than women?
"Anyone can get away with it. My question is: Why do you want people to think you shag everything that moves? I’d want people to think I was interesting and attractive — not that I’m on my knees in every alleyway giving blow jobs," Doonan explains. "Being a ho isn’t so great — hanging out in a parking lot and huffing glue … It’s not great."