And so continues our Long Day’s Journey into Barneys with Simon Doonan. We’ve moved from Goyard luggage and Tom Ford shades to Saint Laurent gowns and juices from Genes. Today, Barneys is our Cirque de Soleil and Doonan is our ringmaster, ushering us through the floors and floors of clothing and accessories with the greatest of ease. Get locked in the store with us, and peruse the rest of Doonan’s interview…
You’ve designed spaces from the set of Beverly Hills Cop to the President and Mrs. Obama’s White House for the holidays. How would you approach designing a restaurant?
I think restaurants should always feel informal and look as if they have always been there. Slightly funky…but not too funky. Nobody enjoys being in an atmosphere which is prissy or precious.
How did you approach designing the White House for the holidays? Did the first lady give her input?
It was an incredible experience. I am very proud of what we created. Mrs. Obama was very involved. I am proud that this is the first time the White House incorporated recycled elements in the holiday décor. It was also the first time that individuals across America were able to contribute their creativity and see it hanging on the famous Blue Room tree.
When walking into a restaurant, what is the first thing you notice?
I notice whether the people are friendly or not. Some of the ultra-foodie places have such a rod up their a** that they forget to be folksy and friendly.
What would your last meal be? Who would it be with?
I would like to eat pizza and fish at Da Giorgio in Capri with my Jonny and our dog. And then jump off the cliff.
How do you always start your day?
I am a creature of habit. I get up at 7am and take the dog out. Then I grab Women’s Wear Daily and eat my seeds.
What’s always in your fridge?
Dried fruit; I like figs and dates. See, I told you I was weird.
What’s a major dinner party faux pas?
Too much stemware on the table makes me nervous. It gives the table a very old-fashioned, farty look.
If you could switch closets with one person in the world, who would it be?
Liberace and/or Mick Jagger circa 1967. I also love Ray Davies of The Kinks. His style was always spot-on. He wrote ‘Dedicated Follower of Fashion,’ which is the best pop-song about style ever written. Hilarious.
What are your favorite New York restaurants?
I like La Grenouille for birthday lunches. Fred’s always and forever. Giorgione on Spring Street has a great Fava Bean Salad. Maialino is a groovy space with a nifty atmosphere. Sometimes I go uptown and kick it old-school at Swifty’s.
If you could host a dinner party with any five people, living or dead, who would be there?
Humor is the key: Jackie Mason, Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, Eddie Murphy and Mel Brooks.
Would you cook or order in?
I would order in. We would be so busy kibitzing and laughing that the food would probably go untouched.
Goyard Bag, Wallet and iPad Case [In Store Only]
*For Part 1 of Simon Doonan’s Story, Click Here
*Simon Doonan, photographed in Barneys New York by Danielle Kosann