News & Politics

Simon Doonan’s “Gay Men Don’t Get Fat” Book Party at the W

The Barneys creative ambassador at large has made a successful side gig out of being a professional gay man.

Simon Doonan in his carnation throne built for a queen. Photograph by Jeff Martin.

The late Gianni Versace once told Elton John that when he died he wanted to go to heaven and not only be gay, but be “super gay.” Simon Doonan can relate. He’s made being gay into a side profession, in addition to his already successful careers as creative ambassador at large for Barneys New York and as a writer. His new book, Gay Men Don’t Get Fat, was celebrated in Washington on Wednesday evening with a très gay soiree on the rooftop of the W Hotel, featuring pink patent wing chairs, loads of pink flowers, pale pink skinny “boy” margaritas, “power gays,” drag queen Heidi Gloom—and Doonan, of course, in his trademark flowered shirt, trilling. The deejay was Shea Van Horn, who sometimes performs in drag, though not on this night; he went preppy instead.

Doonan arrived with a smile that pretty much stayed planted on his face for the duration of the hour-long VIP reception that occurred before the party opened to the public for a book signing. He whirled, twirled, and posed with everyone, usually thrusting his pink-covered book into center frame. When not circulating in the room he sat on the flower-shrouded raised stage, a carnation throne fit for, well, a queen.

Earlier, Doonan and husband Jonathan Adler, a renowned home furnishings designer, took time to enjoy Washington’s beautiful weather. Doonan said they walked “all the way” from the W to Georgetown and back again. They had lunch at Bistro Français on M Street, which Doonan said he loved “because it reminded me of the ’70s.” Like anyone walking through Georgetown, the couple visited a number of stores. Which ones did he like? “Jack Spade is done well,” he said. “And also a little men’s store on a side street, Lost Boys.”

Jonathan Capehart arrived at the party smartly but conservatively dressed, as he always is. He’s generally in a good mood, but was especially upbeat because he’s about to celebrate his five-year anniversary with the Washington Post, where he’s on the editorial board, writing opinions on politics and social issues. Will there be a party? He didn’t know. C’mon, Katharine Weymouth, give the man a party!

Stylist Deb Johns and cause-angel extraordiniare Mariella Trager scooped up as many books as their arms could hold. The Washington Performing Arts Society’s Daren Thomas stood in line to make his purchase.

When I mentioned to Doonan that I was headed from his very femme party to an event for infamous tough guy Clint Eastwood, he swooned a little. “Oh, I like him. I’m a big fan,” he said. Would Eastwood relate to Doonan’s party and vice versa? “Oh, yes. I think he is very open-minded and understands the gay world.”

Here’s a selection from the guest list: David Anderson, Clay Barnard, Jason Barnes, Chord Bezerra, Gerry Coates, Jennifer Barger, Colin Hunter, John Paul Hamilton, Dale Mott, Peter Nonis, Skip Skroka, Matt Lamm, Kara Manos, Anton Papich, Johnny Rogers, Olivia Peterson, Jura Koncius, Joseph Ireland, David Hagedorn, Scott Frost, Megan Buerger, Svetlana Legetic, Jill Powell.