Last week, the home accessories company Rosenthal USA teamed up with the salon Warren-Tricomi to open a "pop-up concept store" at the Plaza Hotel. To celebrate the occasion, last Wednesday designers Geoffrey Bradfield, Campion Platt and Antony Todd hosted a party in the hotel's Terrace Foyer. Party correspondent Douglas Marshall took a few minutes to chat with style maven Patrick McDonald, one of the most recognizable figures on the fashion scene (and someone you'll be seeing a lot more of when Bravo's new fashion-centric reality show, Launch My Line, debuts in December). On tap for discussion: men's fashion, shopping during a recession, and Barack Obama's wardrobe.
Q: Lots of people are stretched thin these days because of the economy, but that's no excuse to not dress well. Any tips on how to manage this? And what advice would you have for men who are kind of clueless when it comes to style?
A: First of all, I'd recommend you take someone along with you who can help you shop, ideally someone whose style you admire and who you want to emulate. You don't have to spend a lot of money. New York City is chalk full of places you can go to for bargains. You might want to add one expensive piece from, say, Bergdorf Men's. But you can also go to H&M, Century 21 or Daffy's to add the basics into your wardrobe. At the same time, I think it's also important to create your own personal style, your own look, your own signature.
Q: Clearly! What would you say is your signature? It seems you have a couple. Or maybe more than a couple!
A: I have three signatures that always go together—and they're not all about clothing: my hat, my eyebrows and my beauty mark.
Q: I was wondering if you were going to mention glasses, because you do seem to wear glasses quite a bit.
A: I do wear glasses a lot, but not all the time!
Q: What are some trends in menswear you're really excited about right now? Any favorite designers?
A: Well, I love Commonwealth Utilities; Anthony Keegan is my new favorite. He's amazing. I'm a big fan of their over-sized bow ties and I recently wore a pair of slippers that they collaborated with Stubbs & Wootton on. And I still love Duckie Brown. As far as trends go, I love that padding is coming back. I'll give you a tip: That little extra pad in the shoulders makes the waist look smaller. As men we all could use a little help.
Q: Do you have a muse? Who do you look to for style inspiration?
A: To say I've done it all on my own would be a lie. I've had influences to create my style. I'd say my main ones are David Bowie and Quentin Crisp, absolutely bar none.
Q: Okay, let's talk about Barack Obama. I recently read a story about how he was ranked the "15th hottest world leader." What do you make of his style?
A: I think that he's a handsome man, sure. And he's physically fit, which is unlike a lot of the other presidents. I would consider him conservative in the fashion department. But I don't think he has time to worry about clothing. He just needs to wear a basic suit and tie and worry about health care.
Q: Maybe he'll improve over time?
A: Perhaps. I adore him, I must say that. But I can't say I'm going to be looking to him for style inspiration. I'm looking to him to run the country and to help us as a nation.