Doonan, Simon 1952–
Doonan, Simon 1952–
PERSONAL: Born 1952, in Reading, England; immigrated to United States in the late 1970s; son of Terry and Betty Noonan; partner of Jonathan Adler (a designer).
CAREER: Designer and writer. Barneys, New York, NY, window display designer, then creative director, 1986–; columnist for New York Observer. Actor in film Beverly Hills Cop, 1984; appeared as himself on television shows, including America's Next Top Model. Formerly worked on Savile Row, London, and at Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.
AWARDS, HONORS: Council of Fashion Designers of America Award; Markopoulos Award, 2003, for outstanding achievement and contributions to the craft of visual merchandising and design.
Confessions of a Window Dresser: Tales from a Life in Fashion, Penguin Studio (New York, NY), 1998.
Wacky Chicks: Life Lessons from Fearlessly Inappropriate and Fabulously Eccentric Women, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.
Nasty: My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to numerous publications, including Harper's Bazaar and Nest.
ADAPTATIONS: Confessions of a Window Dresser was optioned for film.
SIDELIGHTS: Simon Doonan established a career as a top store-window designer and wrote about his life in the popular memoir, Confessions of a Window Dresser: Tales from a Life in Fashion. Writing in Display and Design Ideas, Alison Embrey called the book "a witty memoir that takes readers inside the mind of a creative personality." In his book Wacky Chicks: Life Lessons from Fearlessly Inappropriate and Fabulously Eccentric Women, Doonan writes about unconventional women and their unusual lifestyles. The book features a wide array of characters, such as the woman who lives in a storage locker with lizards and a tarantula. Other women profiled include a woman who gets her fashion sense from flea markets, a bride who pops out of an egg, and a seller of spandex whose store is in a Florida nudist colony. "Everyone loves an over-the-top woman who is belligerent, resilient, uninhibited, naughty, creative, and hilarious," Doonan told Lori Kaye in an interview for the Advocate. As Doonan went on to note, "Wacky chicks are the crowning achievement of women's lib. They are disapproval-immune. They are beacons of uninhibited empowerment."
In a review of Wacky Chicks in Booklist, Whitney Scott called the effort a "breezy, in-your-face book." Scott also noted that Doonan's style "becomes a character to equal any of the wacky chicks he has interviewed." Jessica Kerwin, writing in W, commented: "Brimming with bravura, Doonan's book also provides plenty of tips for those regular gals longing to live la vida loca." Kerwin went on to note, "It's classic Doonan, as fans of his first book and autobiography … and avid readers of his weekly column … well know."
Doonan focuses on his own life in his book Nasty: My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints. "Nasty is more of a memoir/montage—I am lucky to have grown up in an insanely wacky family and to have had a complicated sleazy trajectory so I have loads of tawdry anecdotes to share," the author admitted during an interview for the Conversations about Famous People Web log. In the book, Doonan delves into his family and his working-class background, as well as expressing his drive to become one of the "beautiful people." The book also features characters every bit as interesting as those profiled in his previous book Wacky Chicks, including his wildly unpredictable grandparents and other members of his family. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "in this colorful memoir, nasty is … quite enjoyable." The reviewer also wrote, "This endearing book pays tribute to a madcap childhood and the power of familial love." Nancy R. Ives, writing in Library Journal, noted, "While this book is not for the squeamish, its Anglo-Irish humor will delight readers seeking the unusual." A contributor to Kirkus Reviews called the book "a kick, a hoot, a truly wonderful read, with loads of down-and-dirty details about characters who are way more interesting than those dull Beautiful People Doonan was so all afire to find."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Doonan, Simon, Confessions of a Window Dresser: Tales from a Life in Fashion, Penguin Studio (New York, NY), 1998.
Doonan, Simon, Nasty: My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.
Advocate, May 27, 2003, Lori Kaye, "Chick Magnet: Style Maven Simon Doonan Talks about His New Book, Wacky Chicks, and the Fabulous Women Who Inspired It," p. 66; June 21, 2005, Sean Kennedy, "The Mod Couple," interview with author, p. 160.
Booklist, May 1, 2003, Whitney Scott, review of Wacky Chicks: Life Lessons from Fearlessly Inappropriate and Fabulously Eccentric Women, p. 1559.
Daily News Record, November 19, 2001, "Barney's Elf," profile of author, p. 1.
Display and Design Ideas, March, 2003, Alison Embrey, "Simply Simon: Barneys' Animated Window Dresser Simon Doonan Is Named This Year's Markopoulos Award Winner," p. 20.
Entertainment Weekly, May 27, 2005, Whitney Pastorek, review of Nasty, p. 144,
Gifts and Decorative Accessories, May, 2005, Meredith Schwartz, "Simon Doonan Does Windows (like No One Else)," p. 24.
Harper's Bazaar, March, 2002, Philip K. Dick, "What a Gay Man Can Teach You about Fashion," p. 216.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005, review of Nasty, p. 396.
Library Journal, April 15, 2005, Nancy R. Ives, review of Nasty, p. 86.
People, June 27, 2005, review of Nasty, p. 47.
Publishers Weekly, March 31, 2003, review of Wacky Chicks, p. 50; April 18, 2005, review of Nasty, p. 52.
W, May, 2003, Jessica Kerwin, review of Wacky Chicks, p. 80.
Conversations about Famous People Web log, http://conversationsfamouspeople.blogspot.com/ (October 1, 2005), interview with author.
Gay.com, http://www.gay.com/ (October 1, 2005), Robert Ordona, "Simon Says: An Interview with Style Maven and Author Simon Doonan."
Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/ (October 1, 2005), information on author's film and television appearances.
Paper Online, http://www.papermag.com/ (October 1, 2005), Patrick McDonald, "The High Brow Interview with Simon Doonan."