Worn Out Wednesday – Peter Davis
Today we speak to the writer Peter Davis, who is well known in a plethora of amusing circles in New York City for being the life of the party and a total gentleman.
His life according to him:
I was born and raised in New York on the Upper East Side but by age 12 I was skateboarding downtown and at 16 I had a fake ID and was hitting nightclubs.
I’ve always been obsessed with street style. My own look was a mash-up of my preppy roots, my love of punk rock and the hippy Dead Head fashion of my friends from boarding school in Connecticut. I was actually thrown out of boarding school and ended up back in NYC where I interned at Paper Magazine as a teenager. David Hershkovits and Kim Hastreiter, Paper’s founders, let me do everything from modeling to styling to writing. It was a dream internship and David and Kim are both mentors and the hip Jewish parents I never had.
After graduating from Bennington as a painter, I moved back home to New York and worked for the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. I was Fred Hughes’assistant. Fred was Warhol’s business partner and the man with the best taste I have ever known. Fred taught me everything from how to shellac my hair with fancy gel from Paris (Fred’s hair always looked like black patent leather) to how to find great art at auction and how to throw a dinner party. I also wrote a monthly column for Paper.
At 22 I was going out all the time. I was the first one to write about so many people –David Blaine, China Chow, Parker Posey and other people I hung out with. I got writing gigs from Vogue and Vanity Fair so I left the Warhol Foundation and wrote full time for a bunch of places like The New York Times, Details and others. I got to interview amazing people like Kelly Slater, Valentino, Gwen Stefani –it was incredible to get face time with so many fascinating people.
For several years I bopped between Los Angeles and New York and then moved back full time to New York when I bought an apartment in Tribeca. I worked for The Daily Front Row for Brandusa Niro, who is so smart, cheeky and funny. At The Daily, I discovered Olivia Palermo and had her photographed as much as possible. I love that she became an international style star. We are still pals.
After The Daily, where I was Features Director, I became the Editor in Chief of Avenue magazine. I pushed the envelope as far as I could, putting Hannah Bronfman on my first cover with the cover line: “Youthquake!”My last cover for Avenue was DJ Alexandra Richards in a teensy skirt, a bustier and big headphones. I shot all the DJ girls together and I was the first to do that: Mia Morretti, Hannah, Chelsea Leyland, Becka Diamond, Chrissie Miller. Avenue is very Upper East Side so having that as my last cover was a great send-off.
I moved to Observer Media where I founded SCENE magazine. I did the magazine for two years and it was just me, one managing editor and one art director. Yikes! It was a crazy amount of work, but to get to do my own monthly magazine from soup to nuts was an incredible experience. I did it all –sold ads, planned events and copy edited every word. My inspiration for SCENE was Andy Warhol’s Interview –when Warhol was in charge. I hired a lot of my pals to do columns. Mike Nouveau, a DJ, did a food column. Donald Robertson did illustrations. It was amazing to work with friends and talented people and shoot covers like the one with Iman in a huge afro wig. But print is really a ticking clock. When Anna Wintour put Kanye West and Kim Kardashian on the cover of Vogue with a hashtag cover line, everyone became enraged. But it was a business move. Wintour is a seriously smart cookie and she knew that Instagram and the internet are the right now and Kanye and Kim are symbols of the digital age. But alas the cover didn’t sell that well. I gasped and thought: could print really be dying this fast? So SCENE ended and now I am about to enter the digital world in a big way. Stay tuned for my next gig, which is 100% digital and global. It’s 2014 and I want to be a digital first editor and writer.
As for Peter’s personal style, here is what he had to tell us:
Jeans: I only wear Levis. I like big E 505s and I sit in a warm water bathtub for 10 minutes then wear them until they are dry for true “shrink to fit.”If I cheat on Levis it’s with Naked and Famous or A.P.C.
Shirts: I am devout to Thom Browne for button downs. They fit me perfectly and the oxfords age so well.
Pants: I like the way Martin Margiela pants fit. Pants are all about how your butt looks in them and Margiela does my butt good.
Suits: My tailor in London –Timothy Everest – makes all my suits. He is a true master. If I buy stuff off the peg, I love Michael Bastian sport coats, blazers and dinner jackets. I have a bunch of Bastian and they all fit as if they were tailored to my body.
Shoes: For fancy shoes, I like John Lobb. I’ll wear Lobbs with a suit or jeans. My pal Mark McNairy makes the coolest brogues –with camouflage or leopard details –I have a bunch. Sneakers for me are either Vans slip-ons or Nikes.
Accessories: I have a “blacked-out”Rolex that I never take off. I do buy hats, but never wear them.
Outerwear: Wax cotton Barbour jackets, Supreme x North face parkas for brutal NYC winters and Levis jean jackets (big E vintage ones I score from Melet Mercantile –the mother ship of awesome vintage clothing).
Your favorite App: Instagram –it’s everyone’s favorite app, which makes it so fun.
Favorite piece of technology: I’m never without my iPhone, but I am trying to use the Leica M camera I bought. If I wasn’t an editor, I’d be a photojournalist. I am obsessed with Gary Winogrand, Robert Frank, Bruce Davidson and all those guys.
Next tech purchase: The iPhone 6.