Simon Doonan Is Getting the Last Laugh on His Snooty Writer Friends

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

Although Simon Doonan’s writing career has blossomed, with several books under his belt — one was even picked up for serialization on BBC2 — he never gave up his job as Barneys creative director. And now that the media industry is on life support, the longtime Observer columnist is the only journalist in town who is not worried. “For years, all my writer friends would say to me, what the fuck are you doing working in a store every day? And now they’re saying to me, how can I get a job in a store?” Doonan told us last night at the FGI Night of Stars dinner. “I seem like the most prescient person on earth, because I’ve always had, like, a day job along with my writing projects.” Doonan says his fellow writers always thought his working in a department store was déclassé and strange. Until now. “There’s nothing at the moment that is worse-compensated than freelance writing. NOTHING,” says Doonan. “You can get more money panhandling on the street. It’s shocking.”

And so he’s reaching out, trying to help impoverished writers get into the retail sector. Yes, he acknowledges that Barneys is not in the best financial shape, but they may be able to find a place for ink-stained wretches with great style. “We have a pay freeze on,” Doonan said. “But, you know, if Tom Wolfe sent his résumé in, he’s so dapper, he’d be fabulous in the men’s store.” Doonan thinks Wolfe would make a great personal shopper, in his all-white splendor. “He’s classy, he’s special. He has real authority about the way he dresses.”

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