When Dan Black goes on stage at Webster Hall tonight to open for Robyn and Kelis, he'll wear head-to-toe Dior Homme: tight black jeans with zippers at the ankles, lace-up sneakers that zip up the back, a Halloween-orange tank with a draw string at the bottom, and a black suit vest that zips up asymmetrically. We know this, because we were with him in the Dior showroom yesterday when he picked it out.
British-born Black, who was just nominated for two VMA awards, plays the second of two shows tonight. When he arrived at midnight the day of his first show he was sick and had nothing to wear. So between doctors appointments and performing in front of a couple thousand people, he popped into Dior, who has been dressing him in Europe and for some of his shows on the West Coast, and we got to tag along. Black describes his sound as "electronic...pop songs but they're much more savage." When he performs he smears what he calls "war paint" onto his face with three fingers right before he gets on stage. So his look has to match.
"On stage my look has to work from a distance so it's got to be something graphic, with color and contrast, and has to work in motion because I move around a lot on stage," says Black. He also likes to play with proportion since he is "quite long in every direction and thin."
This is a man who knows his fashion. When surrounded by racks upon racks of Dior, Black knows just what he likes. Even when he's not on stage and being dressed by Dior Homme, he wears Kris Van Assche sneakers that he likens to shoes a "fashionable astronaut would wear," lives in Acne jeans, and wears jewelry (like a silver key on a chain or a metal twig necklace) with confidence. His favorite brands include Chronicles of Never, Oak, and Unconditional. "I like things that are a violent twist on something obvious," says Black.
But he doesn't take himself, or fashion, too seriously. "I like the nonsense of clothes," says Black. "It's saying this is who I am." Maybe it was due to pop star scheduling constraints, but we were impressed with how easily Black picked out two looks without any agonizing. If we had some time with racks of Dior we would take hours. Black took 20 minutes.