Practically speaking, Simon Doonan is one of American fashion's iconic characters. Writer, Bon-Vivant, media personality, famous window dresser, Creative Ambassador-at-Large for Barney's New York , Simon Doonan is a man of many talents. He was a guest star on three seasons for America's Next Top Model to teach the models about style. He has appeared on Bravo's Fashion Hunters to authenticate an Issey Miyake piece, judge on Iron Chef America for Battle Sparkling Wine, he escorted Blair Waldorf on Jenny Packham's show in Gossip Girl's fifth season "The Jewel of Denial." Doonan made a cameo in an Alexander Wang advertisement with comedian Anjela Johnson's character Bon Qui Qui and the list goes on. For someone who's reached such an influential position in the fashion industry, Doonan has a remarkable personality.
Juliet: Simon, what were you like as a child?
SD: I was born in Post-War England in a rooming house, surrounded by lodgers and crazy relatives. I was a terrified/amused spectator. The Swinging 60’s came along and I started to find a groove.
Juliet: I love that you build your career from the bottom up, it wasn't given to you. You gradually worked your way up and rose to the top. Could you please share your story with us. What were some of the great lesson you've learned along the way?
SD: I never tried to build a career. My drive came from desperation. I craved financial independence. My focus was always on finding a way to pay my bills. Along the way I discovered my need for creative stimulation.
Juliet: What was it like working for Diane Vreeland in New York?
SD: She was a genuinely unconventional person. She understood the tastes and the mores of the bourgeoisie but she herself was a visionary and a rule-breaker.
Juliet: Who are your style icons, past and present?
SD: I like anything which is excessive and expressive. I gravitate towards theatricality and glamour. My style icons are Bowie, Liberace, Carmen Miranda, The Kinks, Louis XIV, James Brown, George Clinton, Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars.
Juliet: What would be your top 3 style tips for men?
SD: Stop worrying about what other people think. Stop being self-critical. Buy a leather jacket.
Juliet: Your style is so fabulous and you are so incredibly talented at what you do, have you ever thought about having your own clothing line?
SD: I cannot think of anything more horrifying. Designing, manufacturing,wholesaling, and distributing clothing is VERY challenging. I have tremendous admiration for people who go into this field. It takes enormous guts and resilience.
Juliet: Do you think that in the past, it was easier to succeed in the business of fashion, or is it better now?
SD: In the past it was easier to have fun in fashion. Rents were so cheap that you could open a boutique and fill it with strange ideas and create your own little Warhol factory, and then close it when you got bored. BUT, overall, things are better now. The landscape is infinitely larger. Fashion has become a global spectator sport. There are more opportunities and points of entry for everyone.
Juliet: Do you think we should never be writing about Silicon Valley clothes? And if you had to, what would you say?
SD: Silicon Valley is changing. The successful people are learning the joys of playing dress-up. They are becoming more connoisseurial about fashion.
Juliet: What is the best part of your job as Creative ambassador at large for Barney's New York?
SD: I love watching people shopping and buying new clothes. Clothing is transformative. Fashion is life-enhancing. I am a retailer.
Juliet: NYC is now home to you and your spouse designer Jonathan Adler, now, what are your favorite spots around town?
SD: We love Saint Ambroeus, Cafe Cluny and Il Cantanori.
Juliet: What is next for Simon Doonan? Are you working on a new book?
SD: My new book is all about the relationship between Soccer and Fashion. I have been working on it for three years. It comes out 2018 - the next World Cup!!!