To top
30 Nov

This 70-Something-Year-Old Is the World’s Coolest Comme des Garçons Fan

Photo: Courtesy of Suzanne Golden / @suzannagolden

The world’s biggest Comme des Garçons addict is not a teenage Rei Kawakubodie-hard in Tokyo. Instead, the fever fandom for the label comes in the form of sprite 70-something-year-old New Yorker Suzanne Golden. A beadwork artist specializing in sculptural jewelry, Golden has written a book on the craft and her work is held in the permanent collection of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. But she spends her downtime in another artful fashion, uploading outré looks to her Instagram @beadygurl. Her account’s dedicated following of more than 3,000 users dot the comment section with emoji-laden praise for her self-timed, tripod-photographed outfits. The ensembles, which are mostly Comme des Garçons but include pieces by Junya Watanabe, Undercover, and Walter Van Beirendonck, accompany her on the most banal of daily tasks. In one image, which she captions, “What I wore for my #dentist appointment . . . ,” Golden sports a polka-dot shirt with wide-leg trousers and flatforms. On her way to vote earlier this month, she wore a pert sunflower yellow cardigan with a patchwork plaid and tartan skirt. 

Before her discovery of Comme des Garçons, Golden led a relatively normal life, which was reflected in her pre-CdG wardrobe. She grew up in Connecticut, moved to New Rochelle and attended college, got married, moved to the city, and later worked a corporate job at Estée Lauder where she wore what she refers to as “Donna Karan–style things.” But in the mid-1990s—when she began making beadwork art—Golden was introduced to the work of the label that would change her life. “A whole world opened up for me,” says Golden. “It was like, ‘Oh my God. Now I’m home!’ This is what I had been waiting for. This is what I had been looking for.” Love, after all, moves in mysterious ways. 

We spoke to Golden about how she styles her looks, and how finding her way to Comme des Garçons led to a little bit of her own self-discovery.

Photo: Courtesy of Suzanne Golden / @suzannagolden
Photo: Courtesy of Suzanne Golden / @suzannagolden

A Style Epiphany
“Before, I think I was wearing mostly Donna Karan–style things. But during the mid-’90s, I had a girlfriend who was wearing Comme des Garçons. I was totally blown away. I said, ‘Oh my God! Who are you wearing?’ It was a dress and it had three layers: The outer first layer had a big hole in it, the second layer had another hole, and then the third layer was solid so you looked through this hole and there were different colors to the layers. It was so amusing. I had never seen anything like this before. I related to it. I just thought, ‘How exciting, how unusual.’ There is no other way to explain it, it was just, my blood was running. I blame her for turning me onto it. At that moment I went out to the stores, looked at the clothing, and I discovered that the one and only boutique is in New York City. After I went down there, I was hooked. That was it: There was no other designer for me at that point.”

Photo: Courtesy of Suzanne Golden / @suzannagolden
Photo: Courtesy of Suzanne Golden / @suzannagolden

Being Late to the Game Was a Learning Experience
“You can only go with whatever you are exposed to. I grew up in a wonderful house and I had wonderful parents. My mother, she dressed lovely, but it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, I’m wearing some designer’s clothing.’ When I was much younger, you could go to Loehmann’s where you could get better quality at a discount. That was my exposure and it wasn’t until I was much older that my exposure changed.

“The minute I changed was when I became an addict of Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, Junya [Watanabe]. Now, there is Undercover, a little Sacai, and the other designer that I like is Simone Rocha. I think she does amazing things. At Dover Street Market they carry the more avant-garde designers. If I could, I would live in the store. I would play with whatever new Gucci came in. I think that is wonderful. Unfortunately, you can’t have it all. I’d like to but I can’t. I try to rein it in, otherwise, I’d be broke. I’d be a well-dressed bag lady at the rate that I am going.”

Photo: Courtesy of Suzanne Golden / @suzannagolden
Photo: Courtesy of Suzanne Golden / @suzannagolden

There Is a Place for Comme des Garçons in the Straitlaced Corporate World
“I had the freedom to dress within certain restrictions [at Estée Lauder]. You didn’t want to look like you were coming in and going to a disco, but they appreciated the fact that I wasn’t in two-piece cookie-cutter outfits, either. It wasn’t outlandish to the point where people were like, ‘What are you wearing?’ I’d get compliments.”

But There Are Still Maybe Some Questions . . . 
“I remember the first time I wore a jacket that had slits by the side of the arm with another piece underneath. It had a belt that came through the slits of the chest. I was talking to some gentleman and he looked appalled and suddenly said, ‘Suzanne, I don’t want to embarrass you, but both of your arms. . . . the jacket is ripped!’ I looked at him and said, ‘What?’ I was so embarrassed for him, and I said, ‘Oh, thank you, but they aren’t ripped. It’s the style. This is the way it is meant to be.’ He walked away totally perplexed. He just had a little exposure to Comme des Garçons. He wasn’t sure what he was looking at but that is okay. Maybe his eyes opened up.”

Photo: Courtesy of Suzanne Golden / @suzannagolden
Photo: Courtesy of Suzanne Golden / @suzannagolden

Attending a CdG Show? Don’t Hold Back
“I know Rei’s husband, Adrian [Joffe]. I met him several times. He invited me to the fashion show. It was the season where the clothes were flat and she decided to not play music in the first five minutes. So, I’m standing there in front of the photographers, the models are coming down the runway, and I don’t even realize that I’m doing it but I’m going, ‘Oh my God!’ Every time a model came out there is this weird voice that you hear going ‘Oh my God.’ The photographer nudges me and goes, ‘It’s you making the noise!’ and he laughed. It was hysterical because people were starting to laugh because there was one person going “Oh my God!” I don’t get embarrassed by doing something like that and I don’t pretend to be something I’m not. I can still be like a little kid in a candy shop depending on what it is.”

Photo: Courtesy of Suzanne Golden / @suzannagolden
Photo: Courtesy of Suzanne Golden / @suzannagolden

Golden’s Art and Comme des Garçons Go Hand in Hand
“My biggest compliment came from Rei who admired a colorful necklace I was wearing and then asked if I could reproduce it for her “Black” stores. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible, but I was thrilled just to have been asked.”

She Can Never Go Back to Basics
“I know my lifestyle and I know what works for me. Somebody I know once said, ‘I love your style. I need to buy a pair of black slacks. Do you want to go toBloomingdale’s with me to find a pair of black slacks?’ I looked at her and said, ‘I don’t know! Just go pick out something.’ It was just going to be a basic pair of black slacks. It was just that way of thinking I couldn’t relate to.”

Photo: Courtesy of Suzanne Golden / @suzannagolden
Photo: Courtesy of Suzanne Golden / @suzannagolden

Even So, Comfort Is Key
“If you are going to wear something that’s a statement, that is a whole new ball game. I don’t really have advice for anyone. I wouldn’t know how to tell anyone what to wear other than find what makes you comfortable and ease into it. The first thing is to try it on, see how you feel in the garment, and see what you look like. It is always about ‘Don’t let the clothing wear you.’ I think with Comme des Garçons, there are some things that they make that if I do put it on, I look silly. I know what is going to work for me.”

 And It’s Not the End of the World If “Everyone’s” Wearing It
“It [Comme des Garçons] is very individual. They don’t make a lot of any one item. For example: They make one or two skirts and that is the skirt that everybody wants. Then, there are four of us who will buy the skirt and show up at an event and we will all be wearing it differently. I love how we all interpret it and that is what is great about the clothing. There is the ‘skirt to have’ this season and everyone jumps on it, but everyone is doing it differently. To me, what really makes it special is that we don’t look like cookie cutters in it: Everyone has a different take, everyone has a different interpretation, and that is what makes it exciting.”

From Vogue

Hannah Kim
No Comments

Leave a reply