From Fashion Police to personal fashionista to Eva Longoria, we've seen Robert Verdi on TV, but last week he was in our lovely San Francisco at Saks Fifth Avenue surprising shoppers with fabulous gifts, and I don't mean just grab bags… I mean shoes, or rockin' dresses! I'm here with Robert Verdi at Saks, and here's my scoop!
By Otto Chan SFashionista
Q: What brings you to San Francisco’s Saks Fifth Avenue?
A: I’m here to promote Saks Fifth’s “Want It” & Saks Fifth’s world elite Master Card… The fashion lover's dream card because the points accrue on all your purchases, you can use the card on all your everyday purchases and all those points accrue and benefit your future purchases.
Q: Do you see San Francisco as a fashionable city?
A: I do. I see all cities as fashionable cities; there’s kind of a global fashion community, and a fashion global consumer that every city has. Things get worn differently in every city. You see people in San Francisco in jeans with a casual, cool pair of sneakers; in New York you see it with a great pair of boots.
Q: Where do you usually shop?
A: I shop a lot at Saks Fifth, I am a bit of a fashion monogamist because I like the idea of a relationship, knowing who I can call to know that I'm actually going to get that service that I'm looking for, and at Saks they provide that service for me. H&M, “Dior Boutiquer” -- I love Dior -- some Bottega, Armani Exchange; all things that are way too young for me, obviously, I just realized that. [Laughs].
Q: Do you ever just want to get into some sweat pants and a T?
A: I don’t look good in them. I think guys, particularly, don’t look good in sweat pants. I don’t wear short sleeves ever. I don’t have good arms. I have really skinny, hairy arms, and my hands are really big so they look like fly swatters.
Q: Are you a brand whore? What do you think about brand whores?
A: I think people think I’m a brand whore. I don’t know if I think of myself as one. I’m a brand whore about certain things like Louis Vuitton luggage. I think of myself as a collector.; buying great quality items, and having fewer good things.
Q: What are you tired of seeing?
A: I think everybody is tired of the sexy velour sweatsuit, sort of like the celebrity sweatsuit. It doesn’t have that sex appeal anymore, it’s become diluted and there’s nothing fresh and now about it. Things that looks overly comfortable. There’s too much fashion information for people to cop out and wear that, and ultimately people would want to say “Oh, well, fashion is not important and superficial.” Well, if that were true we would all be naked. And we’re not. We’re all dressed! I think you feel better when you’re dressed up.
Q: Do you think there is a correlation between fashion & politics?
A: Yes, Fashion often tells the motive of a nation. Even the jacket that I’m wearing today benignly has military detailing, so it’s indicative… sort of the climate, and you can see that the clothing on the New York runways have been monotone and grey. You can see the nation's moods. In the past, fashion told people who you were, but now as people have evolved in the world of fashion, and have greater resources, there’s more interest in it. What you find is that fashion no longer tells people who they are but who they want to be.
Q: What’s your number one fashion rule?
A: It’s about taking risks… YOU HAVE TO TAKE MORE FASHION RISKS!
Q: Do you think a man wearing a kilt is sexy?
A: I’ve worn a kilt, and I know it wasn’t sexy on me… basically it looked like I was wearing my aunt Connie’s skirt. I think some guys look kind of sexy in kilts. I think the guys that look the sexiest are the guys that are more rugged, real Scottish; when it’s most authentic is when it’s the sexiest.
Q: Do you think gay men are slowly losing their ability to be styling?
A: …I think we’re the most stylish! Let that be said.
Q: Do you see fashion as an art? Is it a talent?
A: If you were to compare it to music, or fine art no, it’s not. It’s definitely talent.
Q: How is it you’re so down to Earth yet you’ve been given this “power” to say yay or nay to fashion?
A: I come from humble beginnings. I’m really lucky. As far as saying yay or nay to fashion I’ve always worked in retail, I’ve always had friends who've asked me about how they can look their best for whatever it is they’re doing.
Q: What are the first three things you look at when reviewing fashion?
A: Artistry, looking for ingenuity, for references, because I think that makes a collection really likeable or sellable, because it has references from history. Wearability, and sell-ability. I think that’s why I like the American collections. I think Americans have the most powerful voices for fashion. We invented sportswear.
Q: What’s your favorite color?
A: Pink, fuchsia, and… pink. Strips… together. [laughs]
Q: What is your favorite season?
A: I love Fall… Fall is about more.
Q: What’s your favorite drink?
A: I’m a big Earl Grey and green tea drinker. I also have a cabinet supply of Vitamin Water.
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: I don’t have any pets. I have nine employees, and that’s good enough for me. [laughs]