According to his public relations bio, Patrick McDonald is known as “Dandy” to the fashionista crowd. This I never knew until I read the bio. The title sort of fits although I don’t think it quite covers it. It also never occurred to me that Patrick had a publicist, although it makes sense – this is New York and he is a man who is seriously out and about. And out and about seriously.

It never occurred to me that he might have a publicist because he doesn’t need one; he’s his own best. Take a look at him. This is a man, no matter where you might run into him — at a party, at a club, coming out of Louis Vuitton on Fifth Avenue, at a benefit — always ready for his (full-length) closeup, and like all pros, he never disappoints. There’s an artistry and discipline in that that is rare these days, even in New York.

He’s fairly new to my eyes – I think I first saw him a few years ago at an art gallery opening. Although he’s been a well-established New York scene-ster for a couple of decades. The first time I saw him I thought it was a costume. Which it is. His costume. Complete, right down to the ever-present chapeau, the dyed red hair (what you can see of it, underneath), the impeccably applied make-up, the color mix which although it varies, is always consistent with the sartorial impression he’s out to create. And create he does.

He was born in Germany, of American parents,
with a twin (which is hard to imagine on the face of it). I could be wrong but I have a feeling you might not recognize his twin (who lives in Los Angeles) if they were together in the same room.

He was brought up in California, went to prep school in Hawaii (Can you see him as a preppie? No?) He went to Pepperdine, that citadel of American Conservatism-goes- Surf City overlooking the Pacific. From there, he came (or possibly fled) to New York, in the 1970s, where he took up modeling and the Studio 54 life.

Fashion is his love; fashion is his passion. In the 70s he worked for Fiorucci which was the “cutting edge” retailer of that decade, and then was an assistant buyer for Barney’s European collections. From there he worked for the late, lamented Fabrice, and for the past eleven years and up until recently, he was on the staff of couturier John Anthony. He writes – there’s a column appropriately called “Highbrow” in Paper magazine. His image has appeared in (besides Paper and the New York Social Diary) Detour, the New York Times Style Section, Sportwear International, Russian Vogue, and is also featured in an upcoming book The Style Makers.

Patrick personifies the New York fashionista, consistently astonishing, seriously imaginative and whimsical and kidding but not. Off-camera, he can be as arch as that highbrow eyebrow, yet softspoken, courteous with a bit of that down home West Coast aw-shucks, and a very pleasant fellow, a one-man band on the run(way).

Albemarle, Rufus

Aston, Muffie Potter

Basso, Dennis

Benedict, Daniel

Capehart, Jonathan

Cominotto, Michael

Curry, Boykin

Dahl, Tessa

DeWoody, Beth Rudin

Duchin, Peter and Brooke

Duff, Patricia

Eaton, Phoebe

Fales-HIll, Susan

Fekkai, Frederic


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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/