Grab yourself a cup of green tea (it’s what Simon Doonan ordered during our recent sit down at Fred’s Restaurant on the 6th floor of Barney’s in Chicago) and cozy up with Part III (after reading Parts I & II, of course) of our interview with the legendary Creative Director…
Off the record, our conversation had turned to Carolina Herrera, and her somewhat recent fashion show in Chicago. Simon was quick to express his love and admiration of the legendary designer…
She’s great isn’t she! I love her! We don’t sell it at Barney’s, but she’s a pillar of fashion, and she’s funny! I always used to joke with her if I was making a speech and her name came up that she’s into voodoo, and that she cuts the head off a chicken before every show, and she would come up afterwards and say it’s a hen, not a chicken! She’s fun! She’s taste luxury humor.
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about the fashion industry?
The thing is about fashion that people don’t realize is that everyone is just a laugh riot in fashion. Everyone has a really good sense of fun. The idea that it’s like The Devil Wears Prada with some terrible bitchy editor flinging her coat is some masochistic fantasy girls have, where they want to believe everything is so horrible, but the reality is fashion people are very nice to each other, they look out for each other, they help each other, and so many instances, as compared with the financial world, the music business, the legal world… things like that are cutthroat business. Fashion is like a frat house. If you were brought up on that Devil Wears Prada image on some level you must like it, because it wasn’t born out of reality. Anna Wintour is nothing like that character! She has a great sense of humor, she’s highly intelligent and she’s gotten where she’s gotten by being incredible focused, and visionary. She’s amazing, and to reduce her to the coat flinging tyrant doesn’t really do justice the nuances of that. The thing I love about fashion is that it’s very marginalizing to kind of freaky fun people, who are a bit more eccentric and I didn’t see that in the film. Everybody was careerist lunatics, so that’s not so great.
When you’re outside of the office, everyone always loves seeing you with your husband, designer, Jonathan Adler. What style aspects do you each bring to your life together?
He’s in charge of the décor. He’s also in charge of his own closet, so thank god! The only thing we try to do is to differentiate each others styles. He always wears white jeans, so if I start wearing white jeans he would be like “get of my patch, you’re bogarting my look!”, and I always wear flowered shirts and he doesn’t. We try to differentiate, but we met each other for dinner the other night, we have little date nights where we meet after work, and we both ended up wearing the same sweater. It was bright green with pink stripes, and he kept saying “one of us has to take it off” and I just kept saying “I think it’s fun!” Wearing the same sweater… it was hilarious, we were like Gilbert and George. So we sat in this restaurant wearing the exact same very identifiable, identical sweater. People were looking, like god they must be really in love to wear the same sweater… or crazy! Somebody had given me one of the sweaters, and then he had simultaneously ordered one online, it was a weird deranged coincidence.
You two have always seemed so happy together! Any relationship advice you’d like to share?
I think for guys… basically Jonathan and I get along really well, we’ve been together for 20 years, but as two guys we’re not offended by anything. If I’m talking to him and he starts looking at his phone or glazes over I would never think anything of it. My girlfriends they’re very sensitive about being ignored, why don’t you love me anymore, or it’s my birthday and you didn’t remember… he and I, we don’t care about those things. We’re just two stupid men. It’s a minefield for men and women because men truly are from Mars and women are from Venus… my advice for chicks is don’t take everything so personally! My girlfriends take EVERYTHING personally. With women everything means something, and to men nothing means anything. That sensitivity that women have, it must serve some biological function… it’s very profound! One of my girlfriends just said, don’t you get mad when Jonny doesn’t listen to you? and I said, “I just assume I’m being boring!”
I suddenly wish I was a gay man! Your relationship sounds so easy going.
However, my parents did have a really wonderful relationship and they were a man and a woman! I think it had to do with their generation and the war. They were never occasionists, they didn’t care about celebrating anything. They never made a fuss of birthdays or Valentine’s Day. There was never any Why didn’t you bring me a bouquet of flowers?! They couldn’t even remember when their wedding anniversary was because they were both so drunk at the time! That’s another thing, when Jonny and I got married we just went to city hall. He said “We can get married now in California”, so we went to San Francisco and got married with just his mother and sister there.
That sounds lovely!
You’re very girly aren’t you?
Well I don’t wear a hot pink suit everyday, Simon!
See, there it is! That sensitivity women have! You don’t have to become sensitive and defend yourself… There’s nothing wrong with being girly. It’s not a bad thing. I don’t need an explanation. Girly makes the world go round!
It does, doesn’t it! Touche. Okay, before we let you go… Will you give our readers a little amuse bouche of your latest book?
An, amuse bouche… There’s a story about giving Tom Ford a wedgie… Oh, and my audition for Devil Wears Prada. How’s that?
That’s just perfect.
[Photos By Hallie Duesenberg]