Style | The Aesthete

Murray Moss talks personal style

Murray Moss democratised design with his eponymous New York store in the 1990s and continues to launch careers there and abroad.

December 08 2009
Maria Shollenbarger

My personal style signifier is my skin – or so I’m told. It’s quite good. I inherited it from my Russian mother who passed away at 96 without a wrinkle. What little vanity I might have rests therein.

The last thing I bought and loved was the catalogue which accompanied the Ron Arad: No Discipline exhibition at MoMA in New York. It was a brilliant show, and the book is a great document; it was amazing to see so much of his work from the past 20 years all together. When I like something, I buy the catalogue, and paging through it triggers a full memory of the experience for me. www.momastore.org; +1212-708 9888.

And the thing I’m eyeing next is a nice print by Weegee [Arthur Fellig], which we – my long-time partner Franklin Getchell and I – have had our eye on. It’s one of his experimental distortion prints of Marilyn Monroe, circa 1960. Weegee at Matthew Marks Gallery, 523 West 24th Street, New York 10001 (+1212-243 0200; www.matthewmarks.com).

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Dresden. In its castle I visited the Green Vaults, which date from 1723. It functioned as a treasury inasmuch as it held things of national value. It redefined what was important in the object world: an ostrich egg was deemed a treasure because only a powerful person could obtain one. This egg is laid into a cast made from gold to accurately represent its worth. It manifests a way of looking at the material world that I can appreciate.

The last music I downloaded was Leonard Cohen, Live in London. For me, he is the 1970s. His lyrics were always somewhat incomprehensible, but I connect with the music very emotionally. Songs linger like a perfume, and sometimes they kick in later in your life. You acquire it, you move on, but then you can change significantly and suddenly you hear it in a different way.

An indulgence I’d never forego is an excellent dry cleaning and laundry service. I use World Class Cleaners in New York; I think they are the best. And I horribly abuse the privilege of a good hotel laundry service. 66 West 9th Street, New York 10011 (+1212-460 5163; www.worldclasscleaners.com).

A recent find is Kate Werble Gallery in SoHo – a small, new gallery with interesting exhibitions. 83 Vandam Street, New York 10013 (+1212-352 9700; www.katewerblegallery.com).

The last meal that left me truly impressed was lunch at the White House, on a visit with trustees from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. It’s very intense to be inside that icon. They served dessert chocolates in the shape of the American Eagle.

The books on my bedside table include nearly all of the Jack Reacher series of suspense novels written by Lee Child. Also Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. Here’s an excerpt: “According to a recent Gallup poll, only 12 per cent of Americans believe that life on earth has evolved through a natural process, without the interference of a deity.”

The best gift I’ve given recently was a gold Rolex Cellini [£3,030] – the one my parents gave me for my 21st – to my niece Sarah. The continuity makes me very happy. www.rolex.com.

The best one I’ve received recently was a clean bill of health from my colonoscopy. Yes, everyone should do this.

The people I depend on for grooming include my hairdresser, Oka, at Momotaro. I am basically bald, but the haircut takes one hour. There’s extreme privacy; it’s very ritualistic, no talking. Each hair is cut, one by one, with scissors. There’s a facial and upper-body massage and my eyebrows are trimmed. With soothing Japanese music, it’s total relaxation. 22 East 49th St, New York 10017 (+1212-759 2392; www.momotaro.us).

An object I would never part with? Although I have always cherished the objects I live with, I cannot truthfully say that I would “never part with” any object. I’m not very materialistic, and I am not a “collector”.

My favourite websites are Huffingtonpost.com, the best for news; Curbed.com, for insider gossip about NYC real estate; and the last is a bit bizarre: Uniformfreak.com – a guy’s passion for air-stewardess uniforms whose compulsiveness I can relate to.