Oleg Cassini, Fashion Designer



Oleg Cassini of the Look Book in New York Magazine
Photo: Jake Chessum

What are you wearing today?
I have the jeans specifically made for me, because if not, why bother? I love animals and I hate to wear a leather jacket, but if you’re going to wear a leather jacket, it’s just got to be right. And nobody can do it better than a designer who’s designing for himself. Look, it’s the best leather there is. One of the secrets to being in good shape is to keep your head warm. This hat I use for golf, and it is fantastic. With shoes, I have a fetish. They have to be beautiful. These are short Italian boots by Tanino Crisci. I have maybe 50 pairs of shoes of classical beauty. I look at them most of the time, but I do not wear them. I have a passion for shoes.

How old are you now?
They are always exaggerating, but the fact is that I am 91 going on 92.

You’re in great shape. Do you have any advice?
I have plenty of advice! You could write a whole column on my advice! Assuming what you say—that I look great—is correct, I will tell you that I do watch what I eat. Quantity is the No. 1 factor. And what I eat, that is No. 2. Everybody by now knows what one should eat; the problem is that the portions are unnecessary. And I always live a life of competitive sport. I still play tennis, I still play golf, and I have three saddle horses to ride in the country.

You’ve spent your life designing for other people. How would you describe your own style?
I can afford to have the most stylish clothes because I am slim! I’m 30 in the waist. The proportion in my shoulder and hips is that of a very athletic, young guy. I’m just athletic, not young, but the great illusion is there because I am so slim.

Whose style do you love?
There I will refuse to play ball with you. I just think about what I like: style, fit, quality. I’m not preoccupied by other people.

Where are you going today?
I go off to La Houppa on 64th Street for lunch. They make special things for me, special foods. The difference between living to 100 and living to 60 is really one of management. I think I’m a pretty good manager, don’t you?

Oleg Cassini, Fashion Designer