John Waters, Filmmaker

Photo: Jake Chessum

What are you up to today?
I’m going to have lunch with Margo Lions, who’s one of the main producers of Hairspray on Broadway.

Do you always ride the subway?
People always ask me what I’m doing on the subway, but I love it! Sometimes I like to ride in the front car and look out the window at the rats. I’m just glad I’m not crippled, because I hate the bus. Every block takes a hundred hours.

Do you get recognized much?
I don’t always look up. But I’m nice to everyone who makes eye contact, unless they’re singing with a cup. People are usually so nice. Sometimes they just mouth “Thank you!” and I love it. It makes me feel like Oprah.

How long have you had that mustache?
Since I was 19, and I’m 60 now. I was a yippie agitator, and I wanted to look like Little Richard. I dressed like a hippie pimp back then, because punk wasn’t around yet. I guess I’ve never fit in my own minority. It’s been a lifelong problem. Or, to look at it another way, it’s been a career.

Tell me about your look.
My whole look is “disaster at the dry cleaner.” Usually it’s Japanese. Today I’m wearing Ray-Bans that I got in a gift bag, and a Brooks Brothers watch. I’m really furious about the watch because I’ve bought the same one every ten years forever and I just found out it’s been discontinued. I’m wearing turquoise 501 Levi’s.

How about the jacket?
It’s Comme des Garçons. And a Paul Smith scarf and socks, and a Brooks Brothers turtleneck. I’ve got Junya Watanabe sneakers and Gap boxer shorts on.

Any cologne?
Odeur 53 men’s cologne from Comme des Garçons. It smells like bug repellent.

Is this a standard outfit for you?
Yes, because when I got dressed I was thinking that I wasn’t going to have to be John Waters today. If I did, I would have on more ludicrous things.

Any style icons?
Rufus Wainwright always has a look. Joan Kennedy always looks startling. Kate Moss has never looked bad in her life. And the Jackass boys. If ever there was a gang of boys I could hang out and get fashion lessons from, it’s them. And, oh! Kitty Carlisle Hart.

John Waters, Filmmaker