Brooklynites Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen often are considered two of the more levelheaded — and clothes conscious — cast members of Bravo’s reality juggernaut “The Real Housewives of New York.”
We caught up with the married couple and their two young sons, Francois and Johan, at their Cobble Hill brownstone to peek inside their closets and talk style.
On their sartorial evolution
McCord: “During Season 1, we wore our own clothes. For the most part, we’ve either donated or consigned all that, except for a few things." (Pulls out long brown and white dress). “I wore this in the Season 1 credits. Why do I still have it? 'Cause it’s a great dress.”
On working with a stylist:
McCord: “During Season 3, Simon and I did work with a stylist, Alegra Torel. I think when you have a very clear sense of style, what you want is a stylist who shares your vision and gets inside your head to create outfits that are you — as opposed to remaking you.”
McCord: “Typically, we shop on weekends or on vacation. We tend not to go to department stores. We like to have relationships. We like to know [shopkeepers] and have them know us. Yes, we’ve done Bloomie's and Barneys, but we have a person who we talk to. Also, Being on the show and having people recognize that we’re so into fashion has opened up the opportunity for designers that we’ve never heard of to contact us.”
On personal style:
McCord: “My style is eclectic. I can get crazy and look like I walked out of Anna Sui or Betsey Johnson but also be super-tailored and wear Armani. I love the Louis Vuitton line Marc Jacobs did, it's very clean. I’m sorry Plein Sud doesn’t sell in the states anymore. Basically, the only time we can buy it is when we're in Saint Tropez.
vanKempen: Or Paris.
On the infamous red pleather pants:
Van Kempen: “I’d bought them for a [costume] party a couple of years prior and I wore them in the season finale because the producer phoned me and said, ‘wear something crazy.’ I didn’t realize they’d make such a big splash. The thing is, wearing cheap vinyl in summer … not the best.”
On dressing to compliment each other:
McCord: “If Simon says, ‘I need a bowtie to match [my] crazy Cavalli gown, that’s when we’ll go to Paul Stewart or Turnbull and Asser.
van Kempen: When that fails, go to Mood [Fabric] or cut a pair of jeans and go to a [neighborhood dry cleaner] and say ‘make me one of these out of this."
McCord: “One time — I have a denim ball gown by Diesel, which is awesome, — the [tailor] made Simon a denim cummerbund to go with it. Just slip covered it in denim. Done.”
van Kempen: "Alex and I, we don't dress alike but we do dress to complement each other."
Photo: Deidre Schoo