I remember my first day at PAPER years ago I was introduced to Mickey Boardman in the old Koreatown office. Despite his beloved reputation and teddy bear image, it was hard not to feel a little intimidated back then – his influence in fashion and social circles is well known to industry insiders. . But after just a few exchanges, where I quickly learned of his fascination with astrology, soap operas, and royalty, it was clear that he was not someone I had to fear in order to respect.
That’s the problem with Mr. Mickey, as he’s often called. Fashion veterans of her stature aren’t exactly known to put you at ease the moment you meet them. It’s a skill he’s well aware of: getting people to feel right at home with him, something that is undoubtedly useful when it comes to arguing over celebrities for cover shoots or filming. interview big names. So it’s only fitting that the next chapter in his career – clothing designer and entrepreneur – reflects the easy, upbeat, and bright outlook on the life he has spent decades cultivating.
“The whole time I was working I was thinking, my God, what do I know about creating a clothing line?” he said of his new line, aptly called Mr. Mickey. But he didn’t go blindly. After all, he studied fashion design at Parsons and almost graduated (âI failed in my last year.â) And he’s been in the high fashion world for more or less 30 years.
The first drop, launched last week via Mark Bozek’s new Live Rocket shopping platform, captures all of the fun and whimsical elements associated with Mickey’s outgoing nature: sequined shirts, logo hoodies and printed pieces. featuring paparazzi photos taken over the years by a party photographer. Patrick McMullen. In short, this is all very “fabulous”, a word Mickey probably uses more than any other in his lexicon.
It was also important for Mickey to achieve the lookbook on an inclusive cast of his closest friends, from models and fashion legends to writers and friends who have nothing to do with the industry. Some have been part of his entourage for nearly 30 years, including Lynn Yaeger and Michael Musto. âFor me, the worst thing about a friend is someone who is in competition with you or who wants to undermine or sabotage you or who is not happy with your success,â he says. “I want success for my friends and I know they want success for me.”
Below Mickey and I discuss her longevity in fashion, her grounding, and her shimmering new number.
I think the obvious question is, firstly, why now? Do you see this as a new chapter in your life?
Since PAPER stopped printing, and i just worked part time, i really had time to fill up to occupy myself, but also to make a living. I am delighted to still be part of PAPER, and always will be, but it kind of got me thinking, Okay what else do I wanna do? It’s hard because when we’ve worked somewhere for 29 years, and especially in New York, we think our whole identity is our job or our title. So on some level I was like, Wow, if I don’t do exactly what I’ve always done at PAPER, who am I. What is my value?
But it’s been amazing working on other things like this line for Live Rocket, and seeing that you can do a lot of different things and they still don’t define who you are. You could wear a bunch of different hats. I’m also co-producing this project on the debutante ball in Paris, which will be shot at the beginning of next spring. A memoir of my life is also in preparation. These kinds of things are all things including the clothing line that under normal circumstances I would be too busy doing, or think I couldn’t or shouldn’t do, unless it’s like a real PAPER-sponsored situation, you know what I mean? And i have to say PAPER has been so supportive. I think if people have dreams or want to try things, it’s always a good time. I’ll be 55 next month, so now is the time – before I step into the shady pines.
Speaking of support, you’ve always been very encouraging from me, say, dogmatic presence on social networks. I feel like you are also one of the few types of fashion media that is actually real and shares things beyond glossy fashion stuff. I’m still trying to figure it all out, but how hhave you been able to keep your own identity separate from work while being associated with it? It’s a strange balancing act, isn’t it?
Yeah, it’s hard. I think that’s one of the reasons I love your Twitter and Instagram so much because it’s really you. It’s not, you know, PAPER likes this collection. You really see who you are and in a way, it’s not even necessarily exactly you the person, but you are the one having fun and being entertaining and super opinionated and slightly fishy in a world that is often not that bullshit and who sucks when it comes to writing stuff. Nobody says what he really thinks, only a few people do. That’s why it’s great that you are doing this. And it’s a balancing act. I think you just have to try things. For me it was a lot easier when Kim [Hastreiter] and David [Herskowitz] who had started PAPER sold, because it was like starting over at a certain level. For me, it would have been great to assert my personal brand a little more even before now. But it is, as I said, between the pandemic and PAPER being sold and wanting to try new things kind of felt like the right time.
As someone who doesn’t fit the traditional mold of a “fashion person”, how do you reconcile working in an industry for so long that doesn’t always accept you in return?
I have to say that fashion is even sicker as our identities are not only defined by our title and where we work but also by the seating plan of a fashion show, you see what I means ? It’s so high school and so crazy. That’s the thing with fashion. I love it and I will always be a person of fashion, but every step of the way there are things that can make you feel bad about yourself or question who you are, or somehow torture you. . As a fat person in particular, from the size of the seats in the living room, the size of the clothes in the store, to the fact that people are being left out, I’m the opposite. I like that everyone is included and that everyone feels good.
I am from the Midwest. I don’t know how not to be me. I wish I could be one of those people who make it seem like I’m a lot more sophisticated than I am. But I am not. I watch soap operas. I’m eating french fries. I am fat. I just know who I am. But I also like fashion. I also love the glamor and sparkle and stuff like that. I think that’s what people really react to. I remember I never talked about sobriety on social media because it seemed like something you weren’t supposed to talk about. I’m just talking about my personal experiences because they are important to me. And I learned a lot from that. I shared it and people really responded.
You are one of the very few editors who have been around for so long. To what do you owe your longevity in this profession?
We are so lucky to be doing what we are doing. I think of Polly Mellen, who I loved and adored and saw in shows all the time when I started until she stopped going to shows. During one of my first Marc Jacobs concerts, I was very late; the show was starting and i just dropped my ass next to Polly in the front row, which i’m surprised i wasn’t banned forever because of it as there was an empty seat. With every look that passed, you would think this was the first fashion show she had ever attended. She was so excited and so enthusiastic. I started to take inspiration from that. You become more jaded. But I remember the first time I went to Paris to see my first Alexander McQueen show while he was still alive, and I walked out of that show and it was like I was forever transformed. It was the most incredible experience.
How do you keep a cool head in fashion and not let it consume you despite all the egos and dramas that can make you feel less than that?
I think I’m just lucky to be that age where you just wake up one day and all the things you’ve spent your whole life worrying about like, Oh, I’m too fat or I’m too small. My breasts are too small. My breasts are too big. I have the handbag from last season. I have the third row, all of these things that seem like the gigantic end of the world, no one cares, really. I think we’re like a big family in fashion. It’s great to be back at concerts because I love the security people. I like publicists. I like production people who put photographers first. These are the people you see regularly.
You also learn after a while that there are show ponies and draft horses. The types of influencers aren’t really the ones who make the magic happen. There are people like Sally Singer, Lori Goldstein, that for me I really adore and they are in the trenches to do the job. They don’t necessarily change a head-to-toe look for every photo. They research and do stories and things like that. You learn after a while that this kind of glamor is not sustainable. You will go crazy if you have to get yourself a brand new outfit. The path of least resistance is just to be who I am. Be nice to people, be genuinely happy, and enjoy things.
Finally, your obsession with Indochina, where you shot the campaign for this line, is no secret. Why the hell do you love him so much?
I have lived in the same apartment for 28 years; I have been in the same position for 29 years. I am much more interested in always going to the same place as opposed to what is the new hot place. Whenever we took clients out they always thought Oh, you work at PAPER. Do you know what the coolest new places are? What’s the hot spot? What’s the new location that’s just opened that’s difficult to get a reservation for? It’s fun in a way too. But for me Indochina has been the hot new place for 35 years and it opened the same year as PAPER started, so there is this connection. I love Jean-Marc who owns Indochina – he was actually supposed to be in the lookbook shoot but had to leave town at the last minute. I saw the King and Queen of Sweden there. I saw Iman with Bethann Hardison. All celebrities love it. Carine Roitfeld loves it. Stephen Gan loves it. A lot of fashion people love it. So to me it’s kind of like a cafeteria or canteen for fashion people all over the world.
Photography: Marco Ovando
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