The art of knowing and appreciating what goes into the making of a garment – whether it’s the history of where it came from or the hidden excitement of the lush detail in a lining – has sadly almost disappeared, save for a few lone riders like Patrick McDonald. As a kid, he would take the prizes out of Cracker Jack boxes as to adorn his jackets, and today, “painting” what he refers to as his blank canvas with an elaborately extraordinary ensemble rife with prolific details – like red suede wingtips, state of the art hats and giant cocktail rings – is his daily craft and he is a master. His fantastic visions echo those of the Salvador Dali, with whom Patrick shared his first birthday, in a sense – both were on the same ship to America from Germany.
Opposite to the present fictional mental state that we are fashionable when mimicking celebrities who are dressed by someone else, there was a time, especially in NYC in the 70′s and 80′s, when one could remember an event or a night out at Studio 54 based on the noticably unique and captivating outfit of another. Lauren Ezersky remembers Patrick in his Thierry Mughler green jumpsuit with shoulder pads, matching green cowboy boots and a Norma Kamali sleeping bag coat. No matter it’s relative under or overstatement one made an effort to be memorable and not like everyone else. Which makes it all the more disconcerting that Patrick was harshly criticized by a journalist for being the death of fashion in a Killim coat. It is particularly ignorant when considering how chic Patrick is in one with a black turtle neck, black jeans and an equally amazing pair of Killim slippers. For the uninformed, Killim is a weave that is ancient, woven and handmade, and not in the customary vocabulary of a culture that has created “made in China” a norm.
I’m not sure why Halloween is the one day a year to in which carefully thought out visual self-expression is sanctioned or why people seem to feel that inspiring style is meant only for the stage. When one has the good fortune to see Patrick walk down the street on any given day in a bejeweled blazer and hat made by The Blonds or a black velvet Dior blazer with burgundy velvet loafers, you will see him for the Pied Piper of elegance that he is. And for the record, time-honored handweave traditions are hardly the death of fashion – in fact, they gave birth to it.