Get Going/ Culture and Art
Kristin Booker • September 4, 2013

On the Scene: Simon Doonan Breakfast at Barneys New York

2013-09-04 09.13.00

Sarah Jessica Parker once told Vanity Fair, “If you’re a really nice person, and you work very hard, you get to go to Barneys.” Barneys New York is a very special place indeed, a place where my heart leaps with happiness and my brain starts to quickly juggle expenditures so I can afford whatever it is that’s caught my eye at that moment.

The newest outpost of Barneys on Manhattan’s tony Upper West Side (near where I live, I’m excited to add), is a gorgeous location for a lovely morning. Like this morning’s invitation to have breakfast with fashion’s favorite bon vivant Simon Doonan and the launch of his new book, The Asylum: A Collage of Couture Remiscences…And Hysteria (Penguin Books, 2013).

Me with the master and author, Simon Doonan.

Me with the master and author, Simon Doonan.

If you’re not familiar with Simon Doonan, he’s a fashion world treasure: an encyclopedia of everyone and anything that’s impacted the way we dress and express ourselves for at least the past four decades. He’s the famed creator of Barneys’ legendary windows, he advises them to this day on all things creative endeavors, he’s a fixture among fashion literates and designers, and he is, without a doubt, the funniest human on the face of the earth. He doesn’t even mean to be that hilarious, he just is. It’s a mixture of rapier wit, droll observation and an addiction to the obscene and the absurd that makes him the magical creature he is. So, when you get an invitation to stop, drop and roll into a famed department store for Simon to drop some witty passages in your lap, you throw on some lipstick and take a seat. Which is what I did this morning.

Simon Doonan reading from his new tome at Barneys New York's new Upper West  Side outpost.

Simon Doonan reading from his new tome at Barneys New York’s new Upper West Side outpost.

Gals, gents and darling gays, I tell you now that if this book is anywhere near as funny as his previous works (which it sounds like it is,) you’re going to need a copy along with some tissues and a change of underpants. He recounted a tale from the pages of his new tome where the legendary Tom Ford tries to give him an impromptu makeover at a swanky party and practically gives him an old school wedgie in front of the fashion elite. I can’t spoil it, but to hear Simon read it goes on the list of Moments I Almost Wet Myself In Public. The book is damned funny, people. Damned funny.

So, if you want to know what will be tucked away in my book at the beginning of Fashion Week tomorrow, it’s this book among many gadgets, pens and Band-Aids. Because as a fan of fashion and of laughing until my sides hurt, this is just the medicine I need to cure my aching mind and body during the eight-day run between shows and whatnot.

Simon Doonan is a national treasure. We should wrap him in bubble wrap to make sure nothing happens to him. But, before any of that, we should all get this book and have a good laugh with him. It’s a keeper.

Simon Doonan’s new book, The Asylum: A Collage of Couture Reminiscences…And Hysteria,  is available via Barneys New York in-store and online now.


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