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Kristin Booker • January 10, 2012

Style Events: Five Tips From Breakfast at Barneys New York with Simon Doonan

Photo: Kristin Booker

It’s impossible to relay how much I love and adore Simon Doonan. The creative genius behind the aesthetics of Barneys New York’s iconic windows for years and a force of nature in the fashion industry, he’s been one of my favorite people for years. So when Barneys New York invited me to have breakfast with him, you know, I screamed for a minute Bieber belieber style and said yes.

Our light (and fashion-friendly) breakfast on the Co-Op swipe screen placemat. Gotta love breakfast with a PS1.

The breakfast (held at Barney’s flagship) was to tout the master of all things wacky and wonderful’s new book, Gay Men Don’t Get Fat, a tome  aimed squarely at the straight community (in particular, straight women) on how to live life well with impeccable style and taste. Filled with Doonan’s witty stories and fabulous advice, it explains why gay men will (and always will be) the predominate barometers of everything chic and worth having/knowing about/eating/doing.

Story time with the author. Photo: Kristin Booker

Doonan read aloud from the book and allowed us online media to hurtle questions at him. Here’s some amazing advice that Doonan threw down yesterday that I think we can all appreciate:

Being hyper critical of yourself is boring. “I’m actually, you know, uncomfortable around people who are really self-critical and (always thinking) that everyone’s looking at them. You know, they’re really not.” I’ve been on both sides of the fence and now firmly entrenched on the I-don’t-give-a-whip side, I agree with Doonan. Honestly, most of us are really too self-involved to care. Stop judging yourself so harshly and go on about your life.

Macaroons are the gayest food on Earth. Someone asked him what he thought the gayest food was and he mentioned that macaroons are definitely the top of the list, that someone plowing through sleeves of the French confections would somehow explode into a rainbow of homosexual splendor. I, as a long-time fan of Elton John, would pay to see this happen.

Stop hating on other people’s clothes. When asked about the upcoming red carpet season, Simon says that he hopes someone does something daring. The media and our high criticism of every single dress has driven the stars toward the middle of the safety zone of fashion, which makes the carpet really boring. He hopes that current red carpet darling, Rooney Mara, takes some inspiration from her Girl With The Dragon Tattoo character. Between our criticism of every single thing celebrities do and wear to our armchair quarterbacking of each other, let’s lay off other people’s clothes this year and focus on what makes US look good.

It’s really hard to be a woman in today’s society. Simon says that he worries about how hard it is to be a woman now. Not only do you have to be superwoman and have this amazing, huge life but you have to look like a supermodel, have sex appeal like a Kardashian (whatever THAT means – sorry, I still don’t get them) and make your lover happy. If we stop participating in this and start focusing on having our best lives possible instead of constantly worrying about what other people think of us, we’ll be liberated, happier and sexier. Which might inspire the younger women who are mimicking our neuroses to shift gears. That would be a huge win.

 He explained why gay men are always cooler than we are. It’s always been my suspicion that gay men have a barometer for the world around them because they’ve had to be careful about it for so long. It’s not easy growing up and wanting to play in your mother’s fur coats rather than tossing the ball around, so I imagine you have to become hyper aware of your surroundings in order to navigate a world that might not always understand you. That eventually turns into a highly-tuned antenna for what’s coming, what’s new and eventually, what makes the world a more acceptable place. According to Doonan’s book, my suspicions were right.

Photo: Kristin Booker

If you wish to learn more about living well and maintaining a life of your dreams along with a waistline that your lover and GBF (gay boyfriend) will cheer you on for, pick up Simon’s newest book at your local Barneys location or online now. I’m halfway through it and honestly, like most things from Barneys, I don’t know how I could have lived without it. 🙂 Thanks, Simon.


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