Dressing with eccentric glamour


On the subject of eccentric glamour, The Women’s Room spoke to Simon Doonan, creative director of New York’s hippest department store, Barneys, who is a stylish 50 something. He’s just written a book on…. Eccentric Glamour! His life is a (perfectly coordinated) rags to (Barneys-is-my-wardrobe) riches story which has been turned into a TV programme, Beautiful People on BBC2.

So Simon, should we all be dressing our age as we pile on the decades?

“Most people are still dogged by the notion of growing old gracefully, I find that a deplorably vile concept, the idea that as you get older you should become like Whistler’s mother and sit there becoming ever more inoffensive. You don’t have to turn into Amy Winehouse by the time your 80, but as you get older I think you reach your ‘Fuck You’ years. I advice throwing out all your work clothes, keep all your party clothes and wear those.”

We at the Women’s Room sometimes get dress-rut-rage…what should we do?

In Eccentric Glamour. I indicate the three routes to achieving potential glamour and personal style. They’re broad, inclusive categories that work for any age; The Gypsy, The Existentialist and The Socialite. Three very valid ways to look that are not just about looking slutty, available and whoreish.

What advice to you give the older broads at Barneys?

I’m on the shop floor a lot, usually I’ll say to someone ‘buy it…that looks great, get two of those!’ egging them on. The irony is we have people at Barneys buying Martin Margiela, Commes des Garcons, all the most interesting stuff and they’re in their 60s and 70s,  that’s who can afford it.

Fashion should make you feel good. It should be like a good dose of Zoloft (US antidepressant pill). You read statistics that say 75% of women feel depressed after reading fashion magazines, because there are lots of horrible, unachievable things presented to you, so just don’t look at them, look at something else!

Simon’s website is fabulous and you can read the weekly fashion rant he writes for the New York Observer, as well as admiring his changing ‘look’ through the years on www.simondoonan.net

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