Amid the swag suites of New York’s Warwick Hotel, host of the 2010 BlogHer conference, stylist Robert Verdi (that guy with sunglasses on his head) was on hand at the Miracle Body jeans stand as women tried on the spandex-heavy denim behind a room divider.
We chatted with Verdi, 41, about his role as Miracle Body ambassador. Then the conversation took a turn as he talked about the great democratization of style and why fashion is dishonest. He also told us why he wears his sunglasses on his head.
How did you get involved with Miracle Body jeans?
I really believe in the denim category. I love a brand that’s innovative and thinks about people’s lives and what they’re looking for and how they’re shopping and what their obstacles are. And this brand does that. Miracle Body thinks about how women look at themselves in the mirror.
I talk so much about denim being the cornerstone of a woman’s wardrobe. What happened was that we [Miracle Body and I] kind of tripped across each other. I fell in love with the way they are honest in their marketing; that these will make you look 10 pounds lighter in 10 seconds. I thought that it was a great hook for a product that we all love.
We’re always looking for perfect jeans. When girls in my office try them on the waist fits neatly because that was always an issue. I love that [Miracle Body] were really smart about the finishes because women want a sophisticated look with denim. It’s a rich, deep, dark denim (they do have other washes).
Should Levi’s be doing this?
I think they might be inspired by what Miracle Body is doing. It’s smart.
Is it a ton of spandex in the jeans – is that how it works?
I don’t know what the percentage is but yeah, it’s a stretch denim. The material makes the fit better for sure. But it’s the construction that makes the waistline fit correctly. You can still use a stretch denim and not have a good fit. They fit their size and it works.
Fashion isn’t all you do, you decorate houses is that right? [Verdi has styled homes for Hugh Jackman, Sandra Bernhard, Mariska Hargitay and Bobby Flay.]
Here’s my theory. We live seamless lives. We dress, decorate and entertain in a certain way. If you have Zen aesthetic in your home, then you have a Zen aesthetic in entertaining: you use all white plates; you use linen sheets. If you’re grand and you have a marble staircase, you will have a strand of pearls. You have much more formal dinnerware. You just live a certain way seamlessly through your life.
I was always interested in how people live, dress and decorate. I made it my goal in life to help people find the through-line. With some people they’re great at dressing but their home is nice, they just haven’t got there. I like to help them find their perfect through-line.
Somebody who is wearing a campy, kitschy poodle skirt and vintage cat-eye glasses; she’s going to have a Cuisinart in turquoise. She’s going to have a kit-cat clock. People need to realize there’s a through-line. You can look at these people [Verdi nods to the mom bloggers in the room] and know what their sofa looks like.
Do you think with street style replacing celebrities as fashion icons that style is suddenly affordable and within reach?
When I was kid, it was taboo to talk about Wal-Mart and Sears – they weren’t cool. There was no Zara, Banana Republic or Club Monaco. Fashion had more of a class system in place. It wasn’t democratic. But it’s changed, it’s evolved. Fashion is really a tool to express an identity about yourself that you aspire to. It’s not an honest statement that you make in fashion today.
No. Because if you look at the turn of the century, something like Laura Ingalls’ Little House on the Prairie – the merchant’s daughter with the frilly, white-lace dress and then the other working class girl with a linen dress. The classism in fashion stayed in place through to the 1950s.
If you went to church in any small town on a Sunday – you would find the merchant’s daughter and the politician’s daughter always had a new dress every Sunday. But the working class girls, they had Sunday clothes. And as we moved through the `50s and credit became available, you found that people started to live, they aspired to look like they were part of another class.
Today fashion is much more of a manipulative tool because it tells people who you are, who you want to be. There are girls living in housing projects who have Christian Louboutin shoes, an iPhone and a Gucci bag and there are lots of wealthy people running around in khakis and sneakers, like Steve Jobs. That’s manipulative. It’s interesting how people use fashion to tell a false tale of ourselves – what we want them to believe versus an honest statement. We manipulate people’s impression of ourselves.
What’s next for you?
I want to start making products: jewelry, bridal, red carpet for real women, like my sister. It’s not going to the Oscars; for my sister a red-carpet event is going to a high-school reunion, to a friend’s wedding. Those are red carpet moments in people’s lives. I want to do jewelry and cocktail dresses for events. I want to do sunglasses. I have a very intimate relationship with eyewear.
Why do you wear your sunglasses on your head?
Insecurity. Total insecurity. When I started in television, I was nervous about being bald. People are like, what’s with the affectation? I’m just totally insecure. Honestly it would have gone away but as I got more popular it became an identifiable part of my style that I couldn’t get rid of it. I became the guy with his glasses on his head. People who don’t know my name always say, you know, the guy with glasses on his head.
The High Low was gifted a pair of Miracle Body jeans. And we have a pair to give away to a reader. Enter here.