Monday, January 16, 2012

Random Questions For…Keanan Duffty. OCTOBER 15, 2007

By Lauren David Peden. October 15th 2007.

Plenty of designers dress musicians. But few designers actually are musicians themselves (we’re speaking of real, trained designers here, not the Beyoncé. P. Diddy, J. Lo, Gwen Stefani school of frock).

Not so Keanan Duffty, who grew up playing guitar – and released his debut CD, “Watersport” in 1985 – before studying fashion at London’s prestigious St. Martin’s College and moving to New York in 1993 to work in the fashion biz.

Duffty launched his aptly named menswear line, Slinky Vagabond, in 1999, and the collection of skinny trousers, sharply cut suits and Union Jack emblazoned everything is now carried at Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman and Fred Segal. He collaborated with Reebok in 2000, and won the Fashion Group International Rising Star Award in 2003.

These days, the cheeky Brit counts members of Aerosmith, the Sex Pistols, Smashing Pumpkins, Bush and Wilco among his fashion fans, and he has often dressed David Bowie – his musical idol since childhood – which recently resulted in an entire Bowie-themed collection for Target.

The Bowie by Keanan Duffty collection, scheduled to hit stores today, features a tuxedo, vest and pants inspired by Bowie’s Thin White Duke persona. The trench coat and dress shirts reference Bowie’s role as Thomas Jerome Newton in the film, “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” And one gray button-down boasts lyrics from “Let’s Dance” scripted onto the fabric. And in a unique marketing ploy, the entire collection will be sold alongside an exclusive David Bowie compilation CD that includes newly remastered, live versions of “The Jean Genie” and “Young Americans,” along with some material never before released on CD.

But enough about Bowie, let’s dish about Duffty, who, in addition to designing clothing, now fronts the electro-rock band, Slinky Vagabond, backed by legendary musicians Glen Matlock, Clem Burke and Earl Slick (alum of the Sex Pistols, Bowie’s band and Blondie, respectively).

So, Keanan…

What is the last book you read?
Literally (pardon the pun), the last book I read was “The Alchemy of Enlightenment” by Osho, otherwise known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. I read it this morning because I needed a spiritual top up. All of his books are funny and you can learn a lot. I went to the Osho Ashram in Poona in 1994 for three months and it was a great experience - non-competitive tennis (Zennis), meditation and lectures all in a beautiful setting. Osho's book takes me back there.

When you were 9, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I probably wanted to be Spider-Man. I had a homemade costume and I used to climb on the roof of my parent’s house and frighten the neighbors. The costume was the first garment I ever made - it was glued, rather than sewn, together. I drew the webs with a marked pen. Maybe I should revisit that idea...

What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Eggs Florentine, in the good company of Earl Slick, who plays guitar with David Bowie. We went to Balthazar in NYC. Usually I get up at 7 a.m. and go to the gym, then I eat granola; today was an exception.

What is your favorite getaway spot?
Baga beach in Goa, India. If you avoid the rave scene there, Goa is a great place. Amazing beaches, great food, wonderful people and sacred cows. Goa was a Portuguese colony so it is a Mediterranean/Indian mix of cultures. I first went to Goa in 1990. It's changed a lot since then but thankfully it's not Disneyland, like New York has become.

Tell me about your pet(s).
I have three cats. Gogo is an amazing Russian Blue who came to stay with us for three weeks in 1998 and is still here. He has an amazing personality and has taught me to love cats. Ziggy Stardust is a rescued calico female from Kitty Kind, and Buddha Boy is also a rescued mixed breed who has lived with us for nine months. Buddha Boy arrived in a very bad state and we are doing our best to get him settled.

For what will you be arrested (hypothetically speaking, of course)?
For crimes against fashion, hopefully. Fashion is always out of fashion; what happens on the street is always stolen by designers who, by their very nature, are out of touch. I actually find unfashionable ideas to be more interesting. Go against the grain!

What is your favorite item of clothing/piece of jewelry?
My wedding ring. My wife Nancy and I have the same ring, from Alex Streeter of Soho. It's a heart with wings - not the Aerosmith logo, as some people think! Nancy's is gold and I gave it to her for our fifth anniversary.

What would you never be caught dead wearing?
A bow tie and fishnet stockings. That only works if you are Sally Bowles or Joey Arias.

Who is your muse?
Natalie Gibson, the former head of textiles at Saint Martin's School Of Art in London.

What never fails to make you cry?
Sally Bowles and Joey Arias.

When are you happiest?
Making music and playing live on stage. It’s meditational. Everything else fades away. A Zen moment, maaaannnn!

The limited edition Bowie by Keanan Duffty men’s collection will be available at most Target stores and online at from October 15th through December 24th.

1 comment:

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