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Why Food Is Like Fashion with Style Icon Simon Doonan

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Sep 09, 2019

Simon Doonan has been called "the world's most famous window dresser." He's best known for his work designing elaborate displays in department store windows, especially at Barney’s in New York City. He's also the author of several books, a keen observer of culture in general, and a great storyteller.

Now, to be honest, here on The Sporkful, the fashion world never felt like it was for us. We assumed it was for people obsessed with status, worried about superficial things. Simon has a very different perspective. He talks about the fashion world as his savior, a place full of misfits who welcomed him when no one else would. And he doesn’t consider what you wear to be superficial.

He thinks dressing well -- though not necessarily expensively -- is life-affirming.

A lot of Simon’s approach to fashion – and food – comes from growing up during a very specific period in post World War II England. He’s from Reading, about an hour from London. His parents were in the Royal Air Force during the war. Simon was born in 1953, when the war was still casting a shadow over the country. Simon's mom moved there from Ireland and tapped into fashion as a way to feel good in tough times.

This week, Simon explains his contrasting views on food and fashion, and discusses self-help, Marianne Williamson, and surviving the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.

Simon's new book is Drag: The Complete Story. All proceeds benefit the Ali Forney Center. Join our mailing list for a chance to win a copy!

Interstitial music in this show by Black Label Music:

- "Rooftop Instrumental" by Erick Anderson

- "Small Talk" by Hayley Briasco

- "Nice Kitty" by Black Label Productions

- "Happy Jackson" by Ken Brahmstedt

Photo courtesy of Joe Gaffney.

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