Photography by Greg Endries

Simon Doonan

Creative Ambassador, Barneys New York

| Greenwich Village

Usually clad in a psychedelic floral button-down and jazzy velvet blazer, Simon Doonan wears his personality on his sleeve— that is to say, he’s exuberant, zany and genuinely captivating. He’s fashion’s answer to a jack-of-all-trades, with window dresser, published author and Creative Ambassador-at-Large for Barneys among his many over-the-top hats. He’s worked for industry legends like Diana Vreeland (the former Editor-in-Chief of Vogue), partied with Andy Warhol and knows a thing or two about living large in Manhattan. Here, Doonan sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: We live in Greenwich Village where it’s restaurants a-go-go. There’s a new place on Fifth Avenue called Claudette (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) which is totally swinging. I love Il Cantinori (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), but I can never remember what I ate there or anywhere else. I read Shelley Winters’ autobiography and she remembered everything she ever ate and where and when, and I was amazed at her food memory. I have none.

COFFEE OR TEA: I am a tea drinker. I like Genmaicha (green tea with brown rice) and I always carry some tea-bags in my manbag. I recently figured out that this habit has saved me $30,000 dollars in the last twenty years. I used this information to justify buying an expensive Saint Laurent fringed leather jacket. If I buy tea, it’s usually an Earl Grey at Starbucks.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: I go to restaurants purely based on whether I can hear my fellow guests. I like Sant Ambroeus (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) because it’s intimate and you can hear each other. It’s an age thing. I am 62.

WHERE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS: I would want to freak them out with a jarring experience of some kind. I recently saw Lady Bunny’s show “Clowns Syndrome.” It was dirty and staged in a sleazy strip club in Midtown. This would be perfect.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: I have not had alcohol since 1985. I am stone cold sober and never think about booze.

HEALTHY STAPLE: I am always trying to be healthy. I don’t want to die. I often eat at Souen (MAP IT, x). I am like a health food lesbian.

GUILTY PLEASURE: I try not to feel guilty about anything. When people say watching the Kardashians is their “guilty pleasure,” I don’t understand it. Just shut up and watch.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Jonny and I go to Maialino (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). There is nothing much for me to eat. It’s very paleo and porky and salty, but I like the vibe and the acoustics are good so we can hear each other.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: Midtown on 9th Avenue looks and feels like New York in the 50’s. It’s like being in a Garry Winogrand photograph. I love to look at the people’s faces and the architecture. I never look at my phone when I am on the street.

REGULAR AT: I am a creature of habit. I have been a member of the same gym, Crunch (MAP IT, x), for decades. What keeps me coming back is inertia.

THING I MISS MOST WHEN I’M AWAY: I miss the hordes of people. I like crowds. I recently read an article in National Geographic about this phenomenon called “group effervescence.” It’s a psychological and physiological benefit that people get from hanging out in crowds– that is why people like festivals and why isolated people are grumpy. People in town cars always look grumpy too.

CLOSET CHECK: My style is kind of mid-’60s. Think Austin Powers. I always loved The Kinks, flowery shirts and velvet jackets. I shop at Barneys (MAP IT, x) for everything.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Barneys and Jonathan Adler (MAP IT, x).

GROOMING BLACK BOOK: Johnny Gaita (x) and the Chris Chase Salon (MAP IT, x).

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: Hanging out with Andy Warhol at Studio 54. Is that groovy enough for you? CP

Simon’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Footwear from Barney’s Men; Sculpture by Jonathan Adler; Sant Ambroeus; Doonan’s dog. Second Row: Menswear at Barney’s; Doonan, self-portrait; Acrylic pills by Jonathan Adler; Salad at Maialino.


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