First Look: ‘Fashion Is My Décor’

New York’s most famous dandy and a favorite subject of Bill Cunningham’s, Patrick McDonald has 300 hats, 100 pairs of shoes, and 50 suits. His pint-size East Village apartment would seem maddeningly cramped to some, but not to Patrick. “I love living in my little ramshackle studio, where everything is crooked.” The reality is that, Patrick, an ultimate clotheshorse, has turned his very small apartment into a very large closet. He doesn’t leave the house unless dressed to kill in full dandy attire. “I don’t even go out to empty the trash without a hat,” he says. Rod Keenan has been designing Patrick’s hats for the past twelve years. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The door to Patrick’s classic 1903 East Village apartment opens onto the kitchen, which is filled to the gills with nary a morsel of food”instead, only that which can be worn. “If I can’t wear it,” he says, “I don’t want it.” The stove has never been turned on in the three years he has lived here. The only time he touches it is to change the time during daylight savings. The painting near the cupboard is by Hunt Slonem. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The shoes that are out in the open are for immediate use. The balance of the collection is squirreled away in ingenious ways invisible to the eye. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Though Patrick denies it, the bath/shower in the kitchen appear to harbor wardrobe pieces when not in use. The ladder makes me think of old-fashioned high diving boards. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Another wall of the kitchen with a neglected refrigerator and stacks of Rod Keenan hats. The full-length drawing of Patrick is by a British artist who goes by the name Atomic. Photo: Wendy Goodman

For him, Patrick’s ensemble was relatively subdued the day of my visit. He wore a Paul Smith jacket with a Club Monaco turtleneck. “I am not super label conscious,” he says. “I mix everything up.” The apartment still has the original pocket doors between the kitchen and bedroom/living-room studio. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The palette of the interior is black and white against camel-colored walls. When Patrick first saw the apartment, every wall was painted a different color, but that was not for him. The chair is from Surprise, Surprise!, and the table is from Alan Moss. The full-length painting of Patrick is by Marisa Acocella Marchetto, and the two paintings in-between the windows are by Kenneth Paul Block. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Patrick’s bed is outfitted in Kmart sheets and pillowcases. When the Indian gauze cover is not in use as a bedspread, chances are it will be used by Patrick as a sarong. The art above the bed, from left to right: The two paintings are by Robert W. Richards, the pencil sketch is by Mel Odom, and the large portrait is by Michael Vollbracht. Photo: Wendy Goodman

You won’t find a nook without a fantastic hat nearby. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The madcap tiara was found in Palm Springs and the very rare original Tony Duquette fan is from Duquette’s shop in the Beverly Hills Hotel of the fifties. “Fashion is my décor,” Patrick says. Photo: Wendy Goodman

First Look: ‘Fashion Is My Décor’