DARWIN & DOONAN: Barneys New York’s creative director Simon Doonan thinks the luxury market is going Darwinian. “Only the designers who have ideas and can really innovate will survive,” he said at the annual auction for the Bailey House, an organization that serves the homeless living with HIV. “It will be painful, but will be good for consumers in the long run.” The same could be said of retail, where stores large and small are fighting to stay afloat. Questioned about his own employer’s troubles, the Barneys veteran was sanguine. “I’ve spent my day designing holiday windows,” said Doonan, who cohosted the auction with Tim Gunn. “I’m full-steam ahead. You know how retail is; it’s onto the next.”
That night, the creative head put himself on the auction block. “I’m not sure what kind of wattage I have, but I’m happy to offer,” he said, adding in classic Doonan: “If you win, you get a day with me. If you lose, you get two days with me.”
IN THE LONG RUN: Materialists sweating over the state of their greenbacks might borrow a page from ultrarunner Serge Roetheli, who sold all of his personal belongings to run 25,400 miles in five years. His wife Nicole captured the journey with a camcorder, riding a Yamaha beside him through 37 countries and across six continents. Without a sponsor of any kind, they soldiered on and raised $400,000 for the Fairbanks, Alaska-based nonprofit International Vision Quest. All the while, he logged between 25 and 30 miles each day, often at a seven-and-a-half-minute mile pace and risking peril. In West Africa, they holed up in the Swiss embassy for 15 days while people were being killed on the streets. His wife was held with a knife to her throat for more than an hour at the Morocco-Gibraltar border, and later slipped into a malaria-induced coma in Madagascar, from which she recovered. “If you don’t want to be scared, you stay at home,” he said.
Their trek is featured in a new documentary, “The Epic Run,” which was screened Monday night at the Anthology Film Archives in New York. Despite this unfathomable feat, Serge, a former Olympic boxer, took away something more intangible than physical strength. “You realize you are rich all the time, while [most of] the rest of the world is poor. You’re rich because you chose this way of life. Most of the millions of people in the world have no choice. They are just trying to survive,” he said.