Fashion writer Patrick “The Dandy” McDonald appears on Bravo’s “Launch My Line”
As a friend once joked, Patrick McDonald’s idea of “casual attire” is tantamount to someone else’s black tie gala wear.
“I personally like to dress up. It makes me feel good,” admitted the fashion writer, whose idea of “dressing down” is donning a turtleneck, trousers and a couture cap. “Casual Fridays should be banned.”
McDonald grew up in small-town San Luis Obispo, Calif., known for its sunny weather, stunning scenery and casual attitude toward the finer things. Here, men’s fashion is limited to blue jeans and board shorts.
So it comes as somewhat of a surprise that McDonald is such a fashion maven.
McDonald’s fashion-forward outlook will be on full display tonight on Bravo’s latest creative competition series, “Launch My Line.”
Coming on the heels of the popular “Project Runway,” the show pairs 10 professionals — including an architect, a choreographer and a music mogul — with 10 established fashion designers. Each team must work together to create a cohesive clothing line, while participating in challenges featuring some of entertainment’s biggest stars.
Bravo paired McDonald with Roberto De Villacis, a Ecuadorean-born designer who has worked with Missoni, Alberta Ferretti and Karl Lagerfeld. (He’s even launched his own line, Trash Couture.)
“It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in my life,” McDonald said.
I recently interviewed Patrick “The Dandy” McDonald about “Launch My Line,” his decades-long career in the New York City fashion industry and his unerring sense of personal style. (You can read the article right here.) Below are a few tidbits that didn’t make the print edition.
You’re such a familiar face on the New York City fashion scene that it’s hard to remember you didn’t grow up there.
I have to tell you, being 22 years old and moving to New York City was very exciting.
I worked at Fiorucci from Italy; it was the hippest store. My roommate worked for Steve Rubell, who owned Studio 54. We used to frequent the club. It was a great introduction to New York and nightlife and the fun of the city. I met well-known designers from that day … and became friendly with Fabrice in the ’80s.
We dressed everybody, every celebrity. It just opened doors for me.
I became myself in New York. I found the freedom there to express myself.
You’re known as “The Dandy.” How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is a little bit English, inspired by my grandfather, Eric Hunder Wickenden. All the pictures I saw of him, he either had a fedora and a beautiful suit or, in the summer, a straw boater with a seersucker suit.
During the ’70s, I loved David Bowie.
I’m kind of a mix of David Bowie and Tom Wolfe, haberdashery and glam rock.
How would that aesthetic translate to an off-the-rack clothing line?
I’ve pictured it to be beautiful fabrics, luxury, and timeless pieces … garments that people could have their whole lives.
Do you own a lot of clothes like that?
I live in New York City, in the East Village. My apartment is quite small. If I had all the clothes I’ve worn over the last three decades, I would need a warehouse. (laughs)
These days, you’re never seen in public without a fabulous chapeau. What was the inspiration behind your decision to make hats an essential accessory?
I have a dear friend — Jose Eber, the well-known hair dresser. Farrah Fawcett gave him a cowboy hat and he wore it all the time. I always loved his hat.
I started wearing hats when I was working for Fabrice…. It just finished the whole look.
You call “Launch My Line” one of the most challenging things you’ve ever done. Why?
When I left JFK (airport) and flew into Los Angeles and went to the set the first day, I did not know what to expect at all. … I wouldn’t describe myself as a perfectionist (but) I want everything to go smooth. I want everything to work right.
I was paired with Roberto. It was a challenge at the beginning. … He’s just a different person than I am, and I respect that. He stuck to his guns and I stuck to mine. (laughs) We worked through our differences. We’re mature men.
Can you share any details about the first episode?
Watch what happens. I think it’s fantastic. Everybody’s going to love it.
“Launch My Line” premieres at 11 p.m. (PST/ET) tonight on Bravo. Don’t miss it!
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