He savours, drives, sails, dances, feasts… his style ever impeccable. Duncan Quinn has made l’art de vivre – the art of living – his passion and his profession.
Is it true you’ve lived more than one life?
When I was younger, I wanted to be a stuntman or an architect. But my father was a detective in the “Flying Squad” at Scotland Yard. So like all policemen he wanted his son to become a lawyer. And so it was. First in London, and then New York City. The staid nature of the business never really brought out the best in me. I was exceptionally disposed to celebrating and tasting life’s pleasures, and rather less so to sitting in the office 120 hours a week. Curating and running nightclubs and parties throughout law school probably did not help. I much preferred a Bond-esque vision of handing off the keys to an exquisite car in exchange for a coupe of vintage champagne. And it’s impossible to imagine such a character in anything but a perfectly tailored suit. So when my passion for the finer things in life recognised there was nowhere for such a gentleman to have a beautiful handmade suit made in New York City, the eponymous “Duncan Quinn” boutique was born. Ultimately I became an architect of attire, and a stuntman of sorts in car rallies, yacht races, and other adventures.
What is your profession exactly?
I am a curator of characters, and the entrée to the club is a bespoke suit. For those who enjoy the power of attire I act as a guide, both in the pursuit of good taste, and in the development of a personal style. In that sense, my day-to-day isn’t limited to designing hand cut suits and other items of external aesthetic attire. Rather, I draw together inquisitive souls to grow wise in the company of others who appreciate storied characters, perfect cocktails, fine wines, beautiful things, and wonderful experiences.
What are the principles that guide you?
Style. Simplicity. Experience. These things are not fashion, but timeless and unique to each person. It’s not unlike Château Palmer. Understanding the modern world while maintaining a standard of excellence. And a unique identity grounded in years of savoir-faire. Ferdinand Mähler-Besse, a member of the family that co-owns Château Palmer, shared the Château Palmer vision with me during a tasting of the Estate’s wines years ago at Christie’s in New York City. It was the beginning of a great friendship.
“ Style. Simplicity. Experience. These things are not fashion, but timeless and unique to each person. It’s not unlike Château Palmer. Understanding the modern world while maintaining a standard of excellence. And a unique identity grounded in years of savoir-faire. ”
Duncan Quinn, Style Maker, New York
What was your last Palmer moment?
In May of this year, in a private cave in Nice, in the company of friends who’d joined me for the Grand Prix de Monaco. We opened bottles of Château Palmer 1990, 1996, 2000 and 2006, as well as Alter Ego 2009. What a night! Up there with two of my favourite Château Palmer experiences. First, a 1983 at Delmonico’s Steakhouse in Las Vegas with a close school- friend; and then, a 1961 with Ferdinand Mähler-Besse at home in Paris. Sublime. As Sir Winston Churchill said, “My tastes are simple: I am easily satisfied with the best.”