via Barneys via FIT"> clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Six Pearls of Wisdom From Simon Doonan to FIT's Class of 2011

New, 2 comments
Photo <a href="">via</a> Barneys via FIT
Photo via Barneys via FIT

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

FIT graduates got a special, unscheduled treat at their commencement ceremony yesterday: Simon Doonan spoke! After being presented a Lifetime Achievement Award from the college, the inimitable Doonan took the podium and set out to dispense six outrageous tips for a happy and successful life and career.

These weren't your run of the mill graduations bits—there was no believe-in-yourself or do-your-research or take-risks or read-books (though we got a lot of that from faculty members and keynote speaker Aerin Lauder). Actually, they were better.

1.) "Don’t try to start a fashion company using your Aunt Mitzi’s pension fund. " Because you'll feel really bad when she's "destitute."

2.) "Make sure you have at least one drag queen in your life." They're very "life-affirming."

3.) Don't douse cologne like a "street-walker." Rather, "do it the Valentino way: Spray a cloud of cologne into the air and then walk into it."

4.) Business trips are "fun" and "cheesy;" but don't forget to tip the chambermaid.

5.) Have pickles at the ready—if not for "Aunt Mitzi" than for "Snookie."

6.) Get a job in "retail, retail, retail!" "After a quarter of a century at Barneys, I can tell you that retail has given me an incredible, enriching, stimulating, gorgeous career. There's never a dull moment."

Then he signed off with a "have a nice life!" It was awesome, and much-needed after the student body president's secondhand embarrassing speech. Hey FIT—proof that stuff from now on! Yikes!

· FIT Honors Simon Doonan with Lifetime Achievement Award [The Window]
· FIT [Official Site]

Barneys New York, Madison

660 Madison Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10065 (212) 826-8900 Visit Website

Javitz Center

655 W. 34th St., New York, NY