Most Recent Articles In Fashion ScoopsMost Recent Articles In Fashion Scoops
WILD MAN BLUES: He's best known for designing gowns and furs for a harem of adoring socials, but who knew Gilles Mendel had a rock alter ego? As lead guitarist for the Born Again Baldwins — a band formed by a group of friends with whom he shared a house in Water Mill, N.Y., this past summer — the J.Mendel designer gets to add another string to his Stratocaster. "This is my Woody Allen moment, when I go play lead guitar for a couple of hours and I'm Eric Clapton," said Mendel, who first picked up the instrument as a teenager. "It's my moment of fame." So far, Mendel has yet to perform in public with the Born Again Baldwins. (Several of the members resemble the movie-star brothers, hence the name.) He was unavailable when they played a Nov. 3 gig at New York's Espace, but there was plenty of social wattage that evening, even without him: Denise Rich, whose son-in-law Richard Kilstock plays guitar in the group, sang, and Donald Trump was in the audience. "These kids are very connected," Mendel explained. "They asked Ron Perelman if he wanted to play the drums." (He declined.) Their next booking is still up in the air, but Mendel put the kibosh on a Born Again Baldwins invasion of Bryant Park anytime soon: "I never really was a strong believer in putting a live band in a runway show," he said. And the other members, who range from businessmen to lawyers, are not exactly fashion insiders. Mendel has, however, passed the bug on to his 13-year-old son. "He rocks," the designer said with a laugh. "I bought him his first Fender guitar."