If anyone understands the meaning of "eccentric glamour," it is Simon Doonan. The Barneys New York creative director/window display guru, writer and VH1 personality has a personal style so idiosyncratic, so utterly his own, that it cannot help but be remembered.
Washington women, hide your flip-flops.
Tonight, Doonan -- he of that luxury retail imprimatur, that boffo London accent, those flower-print shirts -- will land at the Corcoran Gallery of Art for a talk about his latest book, "Eccentric Glamour: Creating an Insanely More Fabulous You."
Though the book does extol women to "say no to ho!" and "resist the tidal wave of porno chic," it is only occasionally a self-help book. Instead, it contains quips, witticisms and profiles of eccentrics whose glamour Doonan admires (Tilda Swinton, designer Isabel Toledo).
But Washington doesn't need quips. Washington needs help.
In anticipation of his visit, we asked Doonan: Is there anything Washington can do to be more glamorous? More eccentric? Less susceptible to universal disdain for our stuffiness?
"For me, the only faux pas is conformity," Doonan says in a phone interview. "Except if you're in Washington."
Huh? No stern admonitions to quit it with the flip-flops?
Doonan explains his fear of a fashionable capital: "I think that would be a disaster! If people are public servants -- if you work in Washington -- your clothes should have a certain self-denying restraint to them.
"If you're in Washington and you're just dying to bust out your fashion chops, leave Washington and go work for John Galliano," he adds. "I like my politicians to be frumpy and frowzy. I like them to have cankles."
The mix of power and fashion is too . . . dangerous. Just look at Imelda Marcos, he says.
For locals looking to make a real style statement, he does offer this:
"There's a lot of really fun underwear you can buy now. You could sort of really go for it with your underwear . . . ."
We are angry with Simon Doonan. But he is so charming, so witty, we begin to think he has a point.
Tonight, Doonan will do a reading from his book and take questions. And, though he's let Washington off the hook for its buttoned-up style, he's unlikely to let celebs and the "porno chic" culture get away so easy (go on, just ask him about Mariah Carey).
"At the end of the day, I always want to make people laugh."
An Evening of Eccentric Glamour is tonight at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. $22; members, $18. Tonight at 7. 500 17th St. NW. 202-639-1770 or better, reserve online: Visit http://www.corcoran.org, click on Corcoran Gallery of Art, then select today's date from the calendar on the right side of the home page.
SAVE THE DATE
CONCERT Recapturing that "Exile in Guyville" Glow It was 1993 when a blunt, slightly potty-mouthed singer/songwriter from Chicago dropped her debut, "Exile in Guyville," and won over rock fans with her brains, withering feminist observations and vulnerability. Guys parsed the meaning of the songs. Women simply related. Liz Phair's "Guyville" was one of the defining albums of the 1990s, and in honor of its 15th anniversary, it has been rereleased and is back on the record shelves in prime positions. To coincide with the release, Phair is doing a mini-tour of dates (just seven) in which she will perform the album, in order and in its entirety. Tickets for the Washington date, at the 9:30 club on Aug. 28, go on sale today at 10 a.m. Get them quickly, all you 30-something hipster dads; our guess is this will sell out. $25. Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. 9:30 club, 815 V St. NW. 800-955-5566.
ON STAGE Having a Carrie Fisher Moment: "Wishful Drinking" This fall, Arena Theatre brings in the endlessly intriguing actress and author of "Postcards From the Edge" to perform her one-woman show, a look back on what might be seen as a heartbreaker of a life. Dad left Mom for Elizabeth Taylor. She'd played space hottie Princess Leia in "Star Wars," then found that her peak might very well be behind her. The father of her child left her for a man. Alcoholism. Bipolar disorder. Yet Fisher dishes about her life with a self-effacing, optimistic sense of humor. The show debuted in Los Angeles in late 2006. It comes to Washington for a run at the Lincoln Theatre, beginning Sept. 5. $55-$74 (discounts available for students). Sept. 5-28. Arena Stage at the Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. 202-488-3300.