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Simon Doonan Dishes on Skinny Diet Pepsi, Barneys and the Oscars

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In the lead up to the frenzy of Fashion Week, Diet Pepsi has appropriately enough introduced its refreshed and nip/tucked design. And who better to usher in the slimmed-down canister to the fashion set than the legendary Simon Doonan. We caught up with the window dresser, writer, artist, general renaissance man and now Barneys creative-ambassador-at-large for a quick phone chat to dish on what's top of mind. So first off, this Pepsi business.

"I saw the skinny can at this presentation which Pepsi did to a group of fashion people," Simon explains. "I got so excited about it because it's such a beautiful object and talking about all the things you can do with it."

Aside from imbibing the carbonated beverage, Simon of course, went creative instead. "In my mind, I could see stilettos made out of millions of Diet Pepsi skinny cans. I feel like Andy Warhol and the soup cans." The giant installations are on display to the public on West Broadway in New York and reproductions are also on tap inside the Fashion Week tents.

With the new regime at Barneys, there's been quite a bit of shuffling around as we've all heard. We do love Simon's contributions to the new Barneys blog The Window, like his whimsical ode to Alber Elbaz. What else can we expect to see from him in "The Window", shall we say?

"Well, I'm going to be regularly contributing pieces and I'm working on something right now regarding Carven because they've just relaunched," Simon tells us. "We're working with Guillaime Henry, and I'm working on something with him. It's a fun creative outlet for me and I'm totally into it."

As for his other endeavors, Simon democratically explains, "I write my Slate column, I have all my involvements with Barneys, which have changed in the last couple months. We now have a new creative director, who's going to be designing windows and creating all the advertising and I'm very excited to see what he does. I'm quite happy to take a backseat and become a spectator. My role is going to focus on PR related stuff, events and, of course, writing for The Window."

OK, that's nice and sweet, but let's get down to it: Team Red Awnings or Team Black Awnings? Simon first laughs and graciously says, "When I started at Barneys the awnings were black and I love the red ones. I was just in the Barneys Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive, where the awnings are red. And the black ones are super chic on Madison...I think it's a bit like spaghetti and linguine, you don't need to choose, you can have both."

After Fashion Week, the next big sartorial spectator sport will be the Oscars red carpet. Who better to ask for some insight and predictions than Simon.

"I think that stylists and movie stars have realized that they've been really playing it safe and the fact that we all have to keep going back to Björk, to a time where somebody actually wore something interesting, that's not a good sign," he opines. Hallelujah to that!

Simon is hoping that the audacious fashion leanings of musical artists like Lady Gaga (along with stylist Nicola Formichetti) and Rihanna will influence their acting counterparts. "People look at the Oscars and people think, 'what is this prom?' Conservative prom? Thanks to the the musicians, we'll see more experimentation. Less fear."

Simon reminisces a bit, "J Lo’s dress was genius. We haven't had anything like that in years. It's looking like Republican country club. I want to see the girls shake it up this year. There's enough going on in the culture, some of it's going to rub off."

Simon left us with a few final bon mots. "Natalie Portman," Simon muses. "Rodarte worked on her tutus for Black Swan, maybe they'll whip up something really provocative and an interesting ensemble for her. Helena Bonham Carter. Why not mismatch shoes? We live in America, be caring, be provocative, be fun."
· Barneys' New Fashion Director Will Be Blogging on The Window [RNA]
· Barneys Installs Black Awnings to Announce the Reign of Mark Lee [Racked NY]
· The Window [Official Site]
· Diet Pepsi Backroom [Tumblr]
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