Occupation: fashion designer, author
Favorite charities: Publicolor, Pratt Institute Summer Learning Project
Where have you spent the past year?
For the first few months I quarantined with friends at their house in New Jersey. We spent endless days cooking. One specialty was macaroni and cheese, using fontina, brie, cheddar, and Gruyère. We posted pictures that made lots of people jealous. I’m back now in my apartment in the Flatiron district with 18-and-a-half foot ceilings and 11-foot windows. I’ve lived here since 1981. I was a pioneer and I’m proud of it. They will have to carry me out in a box.
Were there surprises when you returned to the city?
Every night there was marching: young people, old people, Blacks and Asians. I’ve never seen that diverse a group of people protesting something. I don’t think that will change. Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and other forms of activism are incredibly constructive and open. They are going to have reverberations long after you and I are alive. Young people, especially, are looking at life with more open eyes.
Have you found ways to support them?
I’ve been working with Publicolor. The founder, Ruth Lande Shuman, discovered that kids were getting into high school who still can’t read or do arithmetic. Through art they are taught math and reading. I also support the Summer Learning Project at the Pratt Institute. Students learn book binding, computer and other skills. For most of these kids, it’s the first time they’ve seen or been to a college.
What are you personally looking forward to?
Once the theaters open, once we have the opera and the ballet, there will be this groundswell of people wanting to go out, to buy something new, colorful, fancy and elegant. I don’t think we will go back to uncomfortable clothes. We are learning to live with clothes that are comfortable and comforting. But we will keep up some formality. People have been predicting death of the suit for decades and saying that this will be the end of the tie. It won’t. To younger men, a tie means you’ve arrived.