In 2017, GQ Magazine's Jim Moore transitioned from creative director to creative director-at-large after 40 years at the men's fashion bible. In that time, Moore cemented the magazine's status as an authoritative guide for American men to live and die by. Now, he's offering a look into his experience defining men's fashion with a new book, Hunks & Heros: Four Decades of Fashion at GQ. On Wednesday, he opened up about his storied career to Fern Mallis, the creator of New York Fashion Week, an industry consultant, author, and the host of Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis at 92Y in New York City.
In a full-circle moment (the editor once lived at the Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association where the talk took place), Moore shared insight into working with athletes, explained why Brad Pitts has the most GQ covers (seven!), and reflected on some of his most memorable cover shoots, including a nine-hour fitting with one Kanye Omari West. In fact, Moore says Kanye's fitting provided the inspiration for West's very first Yeezy Season 1 clothing collection in 2015.
It all started with a party in Milan. GQ's editor-in-chief Jim Nelson had asked West to come from London to Milan for a performance. “We had this incredible party,” Moore recalled. “The first part of the night was [all] designers, champagne, caviar, we pulled out all the stops.” Moore and West were able to connect backstage, after the rapper's performance.
“We just started talking about fashion, style and [...] we kind of locked into this conversation that bonded us forever,” Moore said. “He is someone who, I just dig him, I understand him, I have patience for him. I like his creative process. I like the fact that every time we get together, he has a new project or a hundred new projects. He's really fun in a fitting.”
West is so much fun in fact that the two spent nine hours together while shooting his August 2014 GQ cover with Patrick Demarchelier. “The fitting was a blast. It’s almost like when you spend more time getting ready for a Halloween party and have more fun getting ready than actually going to the party. The pictures only took a couple of hours. But the fitting took nine hours.”
During this time, Moore was enamored with a retro fashion trend: monochromatic style. “I was trying to usher in this monochromatic look,” he explains to Mallis. “It had been done before but a little bit in the early ‘90s and I thought it was time for it to come back. I had experimented a little bit on Drake. With Kanye, which was about a year and a half later, I said I have this idea.” He urged West to consider one-colour dressing and the rapper loved it.
“I met him at the Mercer Hotel and I took him through all of my mood boards. He loved the idea. And on the day of the fitting, I had 50 racks of the best clothes in the world, and him being a clothes horse, [he was like] a kid in the candy store, he wanted to try everything on.” He continues: “His assistant at the time was Jerry Lorenzo, who has a line called Fear of God and Jerry was kind-of trying to disrupt my vibe a little bit. Virgil had already left and was working on Off-White. Jerry kept saying I don’t know about this one colour thing.”
But eventually Kanye fell in love with the monochromatic look. “I feel like that was the fuel for the first of the Yeezy collections.” Since Moore helped 'Ye discover his love of monochromatic dressing, Kanye has completely leaned into the trend. Not only did his first collection spur a fixation on one-colour athleisure, but it also influenced Kim Kardashian's aesthetic (the kids, too!) who now only wear monochromatic clothing. Even the Sunday Service merch is monochromatic.
When Mallis asked Moore if West has ever credited him for that sartorial shift, Moore responded: “We've talked about it.”