Jun 3, 2010

Designer DNA: Derek Blasberg

By: Nancy Won
Elle Canada
Jun 3, 2010

Designer DNA: Derek Blasberg

By: Nancy Won figurehead and overall man-about-town Derek Blasberg thinks the world could use a lesson in class. A fashion fixture in Manhattan’s star-studded party scene, Blasberg has witnessed the best of social graces and the worst of public gaffes and in his new book (and New York Times Bestseller) “Classy: Exceptional Advice for the Extremely Modern Lady,” he sets out to prove that having good manners still counts for something in a world where rehab is the new Oscar nod. “Right now we’re seeing a lot of mistresses, reality show train wrecks, a lot of messy people in the forefront of our media coverage and I started to wonder if a young girl today might be confused about who’s in the public eye for being a train wreck and who’s in the public eye for being a role model and respectable young women,” says Blasberg. “I wanted to put something out in the world that encouraged girls to be a little nicer, a little more sober and a little cleaner living.”

While DUIs, sex tapes, boob jobs and crotch shots continue to fill the pages of trash rags every week, modern day ladies like Tinsley Mortimer, Kate Bosworth and Birdie Bell (who Balsberg recruited to demonstrate his classy vs. trampy philosophy in the book) are quietly taking back the spotlight. “There’s definitely a movement back—the Times called it “more Hepburn than Hilton.” I think we will start to sort of scale back, and our more frivolous demeanors will be replaced by more forthright and honest young women,” says Blasberg.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Karl Lagerfeld once told me that his greatest extravagance is being alone, and while I’m not as busy as Karl Lagerfeld, I can certainly sympathize. A night in, at home, by oneself, is definitely a luxury.

What do you consider your worst trait?
I’m eager to please.

If you could choose an occupation other than your own what would it be?

Who is your style icon?
Hamish Bowles. He’s just a really well dressed man.

If you had to choose one designer to fill your wardrobe, who would it be?
Ralph Lauren. 

Who is the classiest woman Blasberg has ever met? Find out on the next page...

An Italian in Paris: Giambattista Valli
Meet Monsieur: Hervé Van Der Straeten

BB.jpgWhich words or phrases do you most overuse?
I say “amazing” more often than I probably should.

What is your most treasured possession?
My dad played for the Cincinnati Reds and I still have his old baseball glove.

What’s your usual?
A Blasberg. It’s vodka and ginger ale.

Heels or flats?
Personally I’m always in a flat, but I like to see ladies in heels.

Guilty pleasure?
I spend a lot of money on hats that I never wear.

Who’s the classiest lady you’ve ever met?
I’ve met a few but the girl I talk about a lot is Emma Watson.

Care to name any tramps?


Three telltale signs of a modern day lady?
Good table manners, a sexy yet stylish wardrobe and a knowledge beyond what she’s wearing.

Three telltale signs of a modern day tramp?
Bad table manners, a slutty wardrobe and a very limited worldview.

What is your greatest extravagance?
My dog.

Fashion trend you wish would disappear?

I don’t dislike any particular trend enough to banish it.

How would you describe your personal style?

Americano. I wear a lot of American designers—it’s pretty preppy.

What are your five key wardrobe pieces?
I wear a lot of three-piece suits so that’s three right there. Then I like a collared shirt…and a tie. I’m not too hard.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
So far? New York Times bestseller. Not bad!

What do you most value in your friends?

Honestly and a sense of humour.

What is your Twitter policy?
Be careful not to bore people. (

What will you do when you retire?
I hope I don’t ever retire…so no plans there!

Read more:
Street fashion: Inspiration from the everyday
Constant gardener: Dries Van Noten
Designer DNA: Whitney Port
Quiz: Spring fashion trends

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Designer DNA: Derek Blasberg