Getting to Know Duncan Quinn
By Laurie Brookins
Clothes may make the man—but then again, Duncan Quinn is a man of many interests. Wine, vintage cars, music, art, architecture—each lends a flavor to the English designer’s Savile-Row-with-an-edge aesthetic. It’s a key reason the New York-based Quinn decided to launch a Miami Pop-Up Experience in his Design District space (at the Moore Building at 4040 Northeast Second Avenue) during Art Basel Miami Beach; the man who loves impeccable-yet-modern tailoring will now tailor his own multifaceted event. Fresh off a plane from London, he took a few moments to talk about all that suits him.
What are your favorite Miami hangouts?
Bardot. It has character. The Florida Room. I appreciate a good cocktail. The Design District. It is not a cookie cutter.
Given your presence at Basel, are you an art collector? What artists most move you?
Mother nature is probably top of my list, but the trick is appreciating it in among all the fires you're putting out at that particular time. Other than that Rothko for the color and simplicity, Calder for the technical fun, Nara for the haunting images and Chagan for the colors and madness of it. On a more simple level its a simple knee-jerk.
When did you realize you wanted to be a designer?
It allowed us to showcase some of the things we do outside our stores by bringing them inside... the wine, the dinners, the cars, the motorcycles, the cocktails, and more than a little rock 'n roll.
Why is a pop-up store during Art Basel the perfect showcase for your aesthetic?
Before I started at primary school I wanted to be an architect. I was sidetracked for decades and then came full circle, only making wrappers for people, not buildings.
What are some secrets to a perfectly fitted suit?
It needs to fit the personality and purpose as much as the frame of the person wearing it. To extend the analogy above, there's not much use in a perfectly exeinted 50 story office block for a community that wanted an understated yoga centre.
How would you describe a suit that feels very of-the-moment for 2011?
Already dated. Fashion is fickle so I prefer style, and style endures longer than "of-the-moment."
What’s the go-to look you reach for when you want to feel completely confident?
For me, 13 oz of a good old fashioned British chalkstripe. That and a bold tie and matching accoutrements.
Who’s the most stylish guy in Hollywood?
Johnny Depp. He has a style, which is produced by him and not by freebies from "stylists."
What’s on your iPod at the moment?
AC/DC "Back in Black"— I just went for a run in Central Park.
PHOTOGRAPH BY NICK HUNT/PATRICKMCMULLAN.COM