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Simon Doonan Says: Pith From 'The Asylum'

His latest book, “The Asylum: A Collage of Couture Reminiscences…and Hysteria,” is due out in September.

Anne Hathaway Stanley Tucci  “The Devil Wears Prada”

Simon Doonan's latest book, “The Asylum: A Collage of Couture Reminiscences…and Hysteria,” is set for publication by Blue Rider Press on Sept. 3.


ON FINDING A HOME IN FASHION: “Though clearly deranged, these two, Pamla and Cliff, had accomplished something major. They had found a place to exist, a stylish, safe, satiny, sequined space, where their insane ideas were considered an asset. I knew in my heart that crazy Cliff and Afro-centric Pamla were kindred misfits. The world of fashion had given them refuge. Soon it would be my turn.”

ON THE STANDOFF-ISH NATURE OF CHIC:
“Was Avedon’s Dovima affectionately petting the elephants? Or was she coldly, heartlessly using them as a backdrop…The ability to project malevolence is, so it would appear, more critical to a successful chic career in fashion than the ability to care for large animals or to smile benevolently.”

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ON WHY IT’S OK TO CALL MODELS STUPID: “Average-looking people, squat people, homely people are always much smarter, more competent and more fun than fashion models. Average people have to make more of an effort.

Is it fair to generalize so brutally about fashion models?

Is it fair to mock their lack of brain power?

Of course it’s not fair, but who said life was going to be fair or even remotely fact based. Isn’t it more fun to exaggerate?”

ON THE DIFFERENCE (WELL, ONE) BETWEEN LESBIANS AND GAY MEN: “In addition to their antipathy toward sweeping generalizations, lesbians also loathe patriarchal organizations and corporations. They are not without reason — wary of being taken advantage of by ‘the man.’ Gay men, on the other hand, rather like the idea of masculine dominance. They think big daddy is hot.”

ON READING FOR NIGEL OF “THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA”:
“Was there a pansy alive who had not read for this part? The whole audition charade was nothing more than a carefully orchestrated piece of unpaid research. We gays had been dragged in to swish it up — on camera no less — for the delectation of some precast, overpaid straight actor. This thespian would then create his characterization based on our uncompensated-for mincings.

These dark suspicions were confirmed when the movie began lensing, just days after, with Stanley Tucci playing the part of Nigel.”

ON KIDS TODAY: “While I, back in the day, had absurdly low expectations, the youngsters du jour now have stratospherically high ones. Impatient and grandiose, their goal is to start at the top.”

ON WHY DESIGNERS SHOULD DRESS THE PART:
“Every designer needs an iconic look. If the “South Park” boys cannot make a recognizable cartoon of you, then you need to up the ante. You need a signature flourish, non?” ON FAT: “I am fascinated by fat. Having worked in the fat-fascistic world of style for forty years, I am always struggling to shine a light on the fatorexic paradoxes and fat-phobic blind spots which haunt the fashion universe. My goal is to pry open the cellulite closet and let the sun shine in.”