My style approach
Someone once described my style as “casually elegant.” I don’t wear ties, but my T-shirts are designed for me. I’ll put a jacket over those, and I always wear dress pants. Never jeans. I tend to wear black or navy quite a bit, and I pull my partner, Jacob, over to the dark side.
How I got into wearing pearls
It was a funny situation: Many years ago, I went to Bluma Appel’s house for a luncheon to fundraise for AIDS research. A bunch of ladies were there, all wearing that old look, you know: a blazer and cashmere sweater with a single strand of pearls. When Bluma invited me for another luncheon, I thought, “Hey, I’m gonna fit in!” So I bought myself a black cashmere sweater and a strand of pearls and went in that way. It’s a good way to make an entrance.
My brooch collection
Sometimes, I’ll design my own brooches with a couple of different jewellers: Laurie Goodman at Marc Lane or jewellers from Lebanon, where I’m from. Sometimes, I’ll get my own stones and have them set, or use something they find for me. Jewellery makes the man.
My royal inspiration
I’m an art and history buff, so I like looking at what different princes and maharajahs wore—not that I’m putting myself in their league.
Where my love of Hermès originated
My uncle introduced me to the brand at a young age. He was Lebanon’s ambassador to the United Nations, so he would buy me ties or scarves from there when he travelled. Lebanon was a French colony at one point, so French things were always valued.
Where I think a shirt should fall
I love the Indo-Pakistani look of longer shirts and sweaters. I have some shirts that hang below the knee; it’s just a comfort thing. And they’re simple looking, but the fabrics are fabulous. One time, I had the guys at Hoax Couture design a shirt for me modelled after a crinoline skirt my mom used to have in the ’60s.
How I embrace my size
I don’t hide the fact that I’m a big guy, but a lot of people seem to want to. I love it; I embrace it. I don’t say I want to look like this person or that person. But it can be hard to find fashionable things in my size that aren’t all polyester or a golf shirt or something like that. I go for loose-fitting comfort.
My couture confidants
I’ve been going to Hoax Couture for 25 years. As I started getting heavier, I said, “There isn’t anything here that fits me.” They said, “Well, we’ll make you something.” If I could buy anything, that’s the shop I’d go to. They’re good friends.
My morning routine
I have no hair, so my routine is simple: I shower, and I trim my beard. It takes me about five minutes to get ready. I also darken my brows and my lashes, but not on a regular basis. It started as a joke a while back at a photoshoot. Someone said, “Well, you don’t look Arab,” so I did it for the project.
My official decoration
I often forget to wear my Order of Canada pin, but sometimes I’ll pin it on one of my jackets, or throw it on top of a shirt. I was told at a ceremony at the governor general’s house that it should always be on top of every brooch. It’s awfully small compared to my other jewels.
My best birthday present
For my 50th birthday, I designed a ring that I now wear a lot. It’s got a big yellow diamond, set in a masculine way. It’s a confidence-builder for me. We call it the “fuck you” ring. My friend actually said once that I was wearing bling long before rappers.
My Sunday style
One of my favourite things to do on Sunday is watch NFL football. I think that surprises people, because they’re like, Well, he wears pearls. Everybody wants to put you in a little compartment, but I’m also very sports oriented. I was a goalie in hockey and lacrosse, and I played football. When watching sports, I usually wear a comfortable cotton or linen pant, plus a tee.