I also wonder how that style might have shifted now that you’re at a startup. Are you still wearing George Cleverley shoes, or have you traded them for sneakers? (The sneakerheads of GQ are dying to know: Do you own a pair of sneakers?) Are you wearing a fleece vest?
I do wear Cleverley shoes. But I’ve also been a customer of Crockett & Jones for decades. I wear sneakers. But not a fleece vest. I have vests I designed myself in linen and also in wool that Beckenstein made up for me.
You’re always surrounded by stylish people. Everyone at Vanity Fair always looked terrific. Jonathan Becker would come into the office just to hang out, and he’d have on the most fabulous clothes—perfectly tailored, but with great personality. Even the assistants and the egghead editors were rakish, but without that “fashion magazine finish.” How did you set that tone? What do you think someone’s clothing reveals or says about them?
Well, there was certainly no dress code or edict or anything. I think having all those other magazines in the building just brought out the clothes horse in many members of the staff.
What are the clever editors and staffers at Airmail wearing? Is there a dress code?
The women dress incredibly smartly. I think Chris Garrett* sets the tone there. The men dress pretty sharply as well. Michael Hainey and Nathan King are particular standouts in this regard.
*author’s note: Chris Garrett was Vanity Fair’s longtime managing editor. She would wear impeccable shift dresses to work, and the coolest Rodarte gowns to the magazine’s annual Oscar Party.
Airmail will publish the International Best-Dressed List, which you and a few of your stylish cronies inherited. How does someone land on that list? Is the criteria different in the digital age?
First answer: super private and only on a need to know basis. Second answer: yes, I think style trickles up as much as it trickles down these days, and the International Best-Dressed List reflects that I think.
You had a great reputation for publishing really crucial fashion journalism. Cathy Horyn wrote for you a lot, and of course Ingrid Sischy, with her Galliano get and her role as Miuccia Prada whisperer. In some ways it feels like more people are paying attention to fashion and style than ever, but I wonder if you think that kind of journalism is still happening?
As more and more of the fashion business becomes just big business, many of the characters have gotten lost along the way. Fashion executives may do their jobs exceptionally well, but they don’t make for gripping narratives unless there is a battle over something. Then we go to work.
Finally: what’s one thing in fashion you never want to see again?
Oh God, where do I start? Low-riding, butt-revealing jeans. Fur. Brogues without socks. Three-quarter-length shorts. Mesh on men.