2010 September 13
In the Closet with Robert Verdi
Giorgio Niro View Gallery
(NEW YORK) The First Comes Fashion co-host and self-described hoarder takes us inside his temple of excess. "I mean, it's not like I'm Mariah Carey!"
Talk to us about what’s going on in here, Robert.
This is my personal closet at work. I was having anxiety about always having to go home to Brooklyn to change, so when I moved to a new office I decided to bring everything together in one place. It’s made my life so much easier—I just wake up, come here, and get dressed!
How much do you think is in here?
I’d guess there are about 200 shirts, 120 pairs of trousers, 40 or so tuxedos, at least 2,000 jackets and coats—maybe just under. It’s also divided and sub-divided: summer on one side, fall on the other. Short-sleeved T-shirts, long-sleeved T-shirts, long-sleeved T-shirts with patterns. There’s a science!
You know where everything is?
Mm-hmm. I’m dumb with lots of other things, but I have a photographic memory.
What about shoes?
You have to qualify. Are you including sneakers?
How many of them were free?
It varies. I can scan the shoe rack and tell you: paid for, paid for, paid for, paid for, got those on Gilt Groupe, paid for, paid for, paid for, free, free, paid for. I get some stuff for free, but the -labels I want to wear don’t give it to me. They don’t even give me a discount! I have to buy the Dior, the Etro, the Thom Browne.
Do you shop every day?
Not every day. I mean, I obsess every day. I’m obviously a hoarder of some sort. I keep everything. But I know it’s a lot. I’m well aware that it’s a lot.
Where do you think it comes from?
I was a kid who wasn’t spoiled, so I spoil myself as an adult. My parents weren’t educated past the fourth grade. I’m a first-generation American—my mom was a dressmaker, my dad was a chef. They worked very long hours for not a lot of money. I grew up in a community where there were very wealthy kids who got Porsches and Mercedes--Benzes for their sweet 16 birthdays, and then there was my side of the tracks. We worked any job we could to save $1,300 to buy a 10-year-old car! I always wanted to have the other kids’ experience, and I worked to give it to myself. But I have this theory about people who have a lot of stuff: It’s a primal need that’s part of their DNA. My mom said when I was a kid, I got three Matchbox cars and a carry case that had all this extra space. She said I wouldn’t sleep until every space was filled. I was obsessed about when I could get the next one. Maybe it’s something I needed to address psychologically.
Do you ever give things away?
Tons! When I moved everything here, I actually donated around 1,500 pieces to Housing Works.
What percentage do you actually wear?
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