When we asked Eric about his favorite places to travel, he said, “Los Angeles to feel smarter, Tokyo to feel dumb, Paris to feel ugly, London to feel skinny, and Ohio,” where he grew up and eventually left, “to feel grateful.” He deals with anxiety by creating order in his aesthetic world, which is, he admits, pretty much all that he cares about (I get it). Everything in Eric’s apartment has its place, as does each piece in his carefully selected wardrobe – he first exhibited the signs of exacting taste in the first grade, when he wore all black from head to toe. Seeking perfect symmetry is Eric’s mission, whether it’s in his favorite navy velvet Belgian loafers juxtaposed with his his army RRL cargo pants, Hermès scarf and Supreme baseball cap or the polka dots that he has painted on his walls and on his Vans.
Ultra-critical of himself, Eric leaves little room for anything outside his own well-curated spectrum when getting dressed. He attributes his self-imposed perfectionism to being a Libra and takes it as far as not needing to own a full-length mirror. It’s just “Check the face, go,” he says. “I tend to land on one particular thing I love for a while and I stick with it…Isabella Rossellini said that her closet is only navy blue, black, and gray because she doesn’t have the time to make decisions. It’s very smart.” Eric wore one outfit- his YSL tuxedo jacket that he says makes him feel important with a Rick Owens’ take on a tuxedo pant, an Acne sweatshirt and Prada patent loafers that he feels make the look traditional and not Goth – every day for months, withstanding people’s stares for its chic priest or “rabbi/Amish-gone-awry” look. He owns a vintage French linen Ungaro shirt that is disintegrating, but the boxy, very wide ’80s fit and the fabric is so unsurpassed that he takes it to the bathroom sink as if it’s the “holy grail.” Eric will go through a phase where he’ll wear all rings and then one day “wake up and think, ‘I look like a fucking hairdresser,’” and then not wear rings forever and go to bracelets, moving on yet again to necklaces in the summertime. “It’s one thing or the other, it’s not everything together.”
Rei Kawakubo, whom Eric admires, says that her work is an exercise in suffering and that that is the time you are the most creative. Considering the despicable pain that Eric has had to endure throughout his life for being gay, it is clear that his share of hurting must inform his resourceful creative talents. He’s been jumped by someone in a Cadillac who smacked him in the head with a Yellow Pages and has been shot with a BB gun by a neighborhood kid – the assailant’s parents claimed he had to be innocent because he had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into his heart just the weekend before the incident. Getting older and losing it is something that Eric fears, “becoming bland like applesauce…my mom always said if you have too many friends, you lose your edge.” But between his life’s experiences and insights, obsessing over the ideal leopard print accent and giving the same clever answer to what his least and most favorite thing is about fashion – “It’s like a private club and a special ed class” – it’s unlikely that he will ever be considered milk toast or applesauce, no matter how hard he tries.