Glenn O'Brien Discusses How He Wrote the Brad Pitt Chanel Commercial and Style Philosophy

Glenn O'Brien Discusses How He Wrote the Brad Pitt Chanel Commercial and Style Philosophy

Glenn O'Brien, known as the GQ "Style Guy" and for his days with Andy Warhol, had a discussion with NY Mag's The Cut on his philosophy of style, and how he wrote the Brad Pitt Chanel No. 5 commercial. Although known for his input on men's style, O'Brien also dishes out his likes and dislikes in regards to women's fashion. You can read the complete interview here or check out some choice selections below.

[via The Cut]

Do you have a hard-and-fast style philosophy?

Beau Brummell, who was this great dandy, once said, “If people turn around to look at you on the street, you are not well-dressed.” I think having good style is about having something that people notice later. It doesn’t bowl people over when you walk in the room, but they look at you and say, “Oh, that’s sort of interesting, the way he combined that tie with the socks and that suit, or whatever. It’s about subtlety.

Do you feel that men’s outlook on style has evolved a lot since you started your column?

I think it’s getting better. For many years, it was kind of forbidden to talk about men’s clothing in the same way that women feel free to talk about it. It would be too gay or something to be concerned with your appearance. A lot of guys don’t dress to look good; they dress to not stand out, which is sort of a bizarre motivation. It’s like dressing to hide. But guys look much better now than they did ten years ago, and I don’t think that’s my imagination.

What do you think is the biggest difference between women’s fashion and men’s fashion right now?

I think there are a lot of parallels, but I think women are much more brand-identified. I like seeing women who aren’t dressed by some designer or stylist but have their own consistent look. 

What’s your process for getting dressed every morning?

I think about what I have to do and where I have to go. Today I knew I was going to stay home and write, so I put on my brand-new jeans that are so stiff I can barely walk in them. I have a kind of uniform. I wear jeans all the time, usually from APC.

I heard you wrote the copy for the new Brad Pitt Chanel No. 5 commercial. What was that was like?

Yeah. We shot it in London, and it was directed by Joe Wright, who is fantastic, so for me it was not only a thrill to have Brad Pitt saying words I wrote, but also to work with Joe. Brad’s got a good sense of humor. Whenever you do a commercial with a script, you do a lot of takes, and Brad would do takes imitating Marlon Brando or Dennis Hopper.

What did you think of people making fun of it?

I’ve done quite a few ads that have been parodied, and you always know you’ve really got it made when that happens. I did this campaign for Calvin Klein with Steven Meisel years ago that was considered to be very risqué, and President Clinton spoke out against it, but then we were parodied by Beavis and Butt-Head. And to me, that was the highest compliment.

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