Thursday, June 23, 2011

Peter Davis Interview

I once read that the life you dream, someone is already living it. Could it be Peter Davis the life I want to live? Perhaps. At a very young age Peter got his first paying job writing for Vogue, he was 22. In less than a year he was already writing for Vanity Fair as well. His passion for fashion has led him to become a very succesfull man and an Upper East Sider like no one. So classy, so elegant, so Peter. Nowadays as Editor in Chief of Avenue Magazine I interviewed him to tell us more about what does fashion represent in his life, his favorite latin american designers and why fashion needs less celebrities and more Naomis.

Fashion and About: What is your first memory in terms of fashion?
Peter Davis: My mother used to buy me APC clothing for Christmas when I was about 10. I became obsessed with dressing "French" and wearing lots of black which made me stand out on the Upper East Side where I grew up surrounded by my fellow preppy WASPs. I've always known what I like when it comes to clothes and can walk into a store and find what I want in about five minutes flat.

F&A: I once read your first job in fashion was writing for Vogue at age 22. How was writing for them at a very young age?
PD: My first article for Vogue was on Birkenstocks which Marc Jacobs had brought back into fashion. I compared the sandals to Jesus Christ and Fred Flintstone which got lots of angry letters from religious Vogue readers, but my Vogue editor loved that the piece caused a stir. I was a painting major so I didn't know how to type - I paid a secretary to type the article on a computer for me.

F&A: How do you become editor in chief of Avenue Mag?
PD: I started by launching the website and a few months later I was made Editor in Chief. I love being the Editor of Avenue as we are focusing on who and what is next, while not losing our core audience on the Upper East Side. People say Avenue seems younger now, but I think everyone these days lives a younger life - people who are 50 live as if they are 30.

F&A: What does fashion and clothes represent in your life?
PD: Clothes are a way to express how you feel and I love getting dressed every morning and then again to go out at night. I have pretty much had the same style since I was a teenager - punk meets preppy. Fashion is important because the way people dress says a lot about the mood of society at that moment in time. I am also a bit of a shopaholic and have  so many shoes that I really should become friends with Imelda Marcos.

F&A: Is there anything you hate or would like to be change in fashion?
PD: I'd like to see much less focus on celebrities on the covers of style magazines and more models. There needs to be a re-birth of the supermodel era - girls like Chanel Iman and Jessica Stam are primed to be personalities and not just catwalk and campaign mannequins. Too many fashion magazines look like InStyle: a movie star dressed up in clothes by a stylist that she would never wear. Bring back the Naomis and Lindas and Ambers!

F&A:What are the 5 musts in a man´s closet.
PD: A black tie, preferably made by a tailor (mine is the genius Timothy Everest in London), a pair of cool evening slippers by Stubbs & Wotton (I have a few pairs but my leopard print ones go with shorts, jeans and black tie), sunglasses by either Oliver Peoples or Cutler & Gross (one can never have too many shades), anything by Michael Bastian who finally won his much deserved CFDA award - a plaid dinner jacket I have by Michael is my favorite piece of clothing and finally a black sweater - APC makes great ones - it is the "little black dress" for dudes - a black sweater goes with everything and never goes out of style.

F&A: What do you think of designers from Latin America?
PD: I love all of Latin America and have been to Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and also love the work of Christian Cota, Carlos Campos and so many other Latin American design stars who are also friends.

F&A: Do you know anything about mexican designers?
PD: I've been to Mexico many times and feel so at home there. I'd love to see more of the work of Manuel Cuevas, Eduardo Lucero and Mario Moya.

F&A: And last, can you give any advice for the young people that want to become a fashion editor?
PD: Always be nice to everyone from the Editor in Chief to the receptionist. You never know who will end up where and being friendly to people makes work and life so much easier and more fun. And just start at the bottom and work your way up with hard work. I began as a high school intern at Paper. I had blue hair and wore combat boots every day. And Paper's founders Kim Hastreiter and David Hershkowitz discovered me. I would never be an Editor in Chief if they had not encouraged me to write and then they gave me my own column in the magazine right after I graduated from Bennington College as a painting major. I didn't know how to type but in less than a year I had written for Vogue and Vanity Fair so I could not have asked for better mentors.

Follow Peter in twitter: @PeterDavisNYC

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