Pocket squares in place and tumblers of 18-year-old Scotch in hand, the bigwigs of Esquire magazine decided to meet the recession head on last night with a soiree at Midtown nightclub Touch in honor of fashion director Nick Sullivan and featuring March issue cover star Clive Owen.
Moving to Anthony Hamilton‘s silky, thumping live R&B, svelte publisher Kevin O’Malley looked like he stepped out of an episode of Mad Men. Wearing a slim-fit blue beaded pinstripe suit he gestured with intensity and half-joked, “Does it look like we’re having trouble?”
After pausing to greet a gorgeous blonde, O’Malley gave me his theory of luxury during a downturn: “I’ve decided to buy less, but of a higher quality—It’s not about showiness.” Unbuttoning his Cesare Attolini suit jacket to expose the inside material he continued, “I wear Prada and Armani, but I decided in this environment to buy 2 suits instead of 10.” Hamilton walked by in a suave yellow jacket. “Esquire is about smelling good and looking good,” he said in his Southern accent. He gave his pick for all time best-dressed man. “I’d have to say James Brown, he was fire.”
I asked O’Malley if they were done with layoffs—he winced and nodded thoughtfully. “Almost,” he said. “We want to make them quick and we want to make them once.”
David Granger, the mag’s bespectacled editor-in-chief also in a bespoke blue pinstripe suit, said Hearst, Esquire‘s parent company, was always secretive about its layoff plans. “We’ve already done some quietly and I hope they’re over.”
He added, “Peace and happiness are the hardest times. The best time is in a crisis.” His eyes were burning now, and he reminded me of a veteran boxer about to get in the ring. “I can’t wait.”