King of the FROW, global fashion editor and besties with Frieda Giannini of Gucci, the life of Godfrey Deeny is pretty spectacular. Back home to judge the best dressed at the Hennessy Gold Cup, I was lucky enough to get a few minutes for a Q&A with a fashion genius!
LCW: Your fashion credentials are outstanding, how did you start off in the world of fashion and media?
GD: By chance, I was invited to a Byblos lunch – when they wanted to go on the Milan Borsa, or stock market. Back in the late 80s when I was the Wall Street Journal’s correspondent in Milan and I met all these fashionistas from WWD, and the next thing I am working in Paris with much more glamorous colleagues, and people said I was a genius coz I knew the difference between Balmain and Beckett. The key thing, though, was I had plenty of cultural baggage – modern art in NY, renaissance in Rome and Florence, Trinity for economics, Clongowes for Latin and logic – so I was able to bring something unexpected to fashion criticism.
LCW: As an editor, what are the challenges you face to maintain interest of your readers?
GD: It’s always who, what, when and where – so if you cover an Armani menswear show for The FT, or interview Alber Elbaz of Lanvin – mega designer – for Chinese Vogue, you make the reader think they are in the room a little, sitting front row at the show. And, write something they don’t quite understand, as that stretches the brain.
LCW: What has been your career highlight so far?
GD: It changes everything month. Last month it was Chanel couture in a fake Concorde. But in October, it was Donatella’s VIP space when Prince did a post-runway-show concert after her H&M launch. Next month, well Tokyo fashion week, of course.
LCW: As a fellow Trinity graduate, when you look back on your education, how did that influence your career?
GD: Lots of ways, discipline in filing a story; being a critic, I used to review films for TCD Miscellany; not being too easily impressed; knowing economics so a luxury CEO cannot sell you a lot of fake figures.
LCW: You are a fashion week regular, (which I am a little jealous of ) how would you see Dublin in terms of style? Can we compete?
GD: I walked around Dublin today, and even in the chilly rain the women looked very fine. Quirky colors, bits of fur, chicly battered fabrics, smiling eyes. The men need more work, btu they still look a lot better than in my time in Trinity. But they need to drink less beer,otherwise it is impossible to wear tight jeans.
LCW: You are good friends with Frieda Giannini of Gucci, do you collaborate on projects together?
GD: Frida is great, the ultimate positive career fashion designer. As a reviewer for The FT I cannot do many projects with her – too church and state – but I love hanging out with her. Last year she took me to her brunch/dance party she hosted with Jay Z in Soho House in LA, and, I kid you not, Beyonce complimented us on our dance moves…
LCW: Reflecting upon your achievements to date, what advice would you give to someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
GD: Work very hard, write lots and lots and lots, and one day without even realizing it people think you have a voice and give you a great job in the front row. Respect your elders – Karl, Giorgio, Ralph, Oscar and Calvin are all in their seventies and all Top 20 designers. Be polite, fashion people like fine manners, it’s the mark of fine living. Anyway, who is younger that Karl? Nuff said.
LCW: What projects are you currently working on?
GD: A new website, and prepping a TV series on insider fashionistas. But above all, our next issue of Sepp, a football magazine we make every two years – Karl does sketches, Dries and Giambattista make T-Shirts, adidas sponsors, we get tickets ton Euro 2012. Forza Trapattoni!
LCW: Tell us about your involvement with the Hennessy Gold Cup!
GD: I have been enjoying Hennessy for 25 years, either as an early evening aperitivo or a late night tiple with a Havana. And I am very happy to be a judge, a fine brandy deserves the company of a beautiful lady – it’s the ideal combo