Excellent Inquisition: Some Outstandingly Pressing, Personal and Pertinent Questions for Simon Doonan, Creative Director of Barneys

Simon Doonan photographed by Roxanne Lowitt. Interview by Ricky Lee. Image via Simon Doonan.

You previously worked at Maxfield’s in L.A., the legendary shop.  What role does Los Angeles or Hollywood style play within the fashion system? In the past it was always a little iffy. Now, with people like Band of Outsiders and Rodarte, there is some genius energy coming from L.A. How important is celebrity to fashion these days? Red carpet gowns are fairly standard and not so interesting to me personally, but I think, because they promote brand names that help sell a ton of make-up and underwear…which is always a sweet thing. What is your aesthetic? Irreverent, eccentric, fluid, glamour-obsessed. How do you go about deciding on the themes for the window displays that you create for Barneys? What is that process, and where do you find your inspirations for them? I sit and sketch and day-dream. Instead of surfing the web I like to daydream. I think the internet is inhibiting people’s ability to daydream Would you talk a bit about your book “Beautiful People,” which was adapted for a BBC series, now in its second season, and which will air in the States on LOGO? Series Two is about to air on Logo – how fab is that? Growing up in a gritty small town, I never dreamt I would have a TV show based on my tawdry life. YAY! What are your favorite topics of discussion in your column in the New York Observer? I cover anything which floats my boat. I try to focus on current Manhattan obsessions. As Creative Director of Barneys, what is your role? I am involved In anything image related: windows, ads, web, copy, special events. I have the dream job! What is branding? Branding is an attempt to penetrate the mind of the consumer with your ideas and aesthetic and have it stay there for a while. Blogs, and their authors, have become an influential category within thefashion industry. What impact does this change have on fashion journalism? I think people are more influenced by their peers than by blogs.Who is preserving the art of window dressing? During the recession everyone pulled out all the stops. I love to walk down Fifth avenue and check out all the windows. My faves are always the drugs stores. I love to look at rows of shampoo bottles. It’s the Warhol in me. What is excellence? It is like “good taste” – it’s an illusion. It is totally subjective.  It does not really exist. the important thing is to stay creatively stimulated. Don’t worry about trying to achieve excellence. Have Fun!!!

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