Peacocking With the Desert Dandy
We had the pleasure of meeting Marlon Weir, aka The Dandy at Il Borro Tuscan Bistro's second-anniversary party back in January. He is one of those characters you see around Dubai all the time and wonder who he must be! Meeting him was nothing like I thought I would be. He is larger than life in more ways than one. We decided to interview The Dandy so everyone could enjoy his zest for life. The next time you see him at an event of any sort (because he is literally everywhere...) go say hi and introduce yourself!
The Pemberley: Who are you? Who is the Dandy? What is your background?
Marlon Weir: I don’t like to talk much about who I am, but I’m Marlon. I’m a visual person— it’s all about the show. I started a lifestyle fashion brand called Lea Claude Caribe, Caribbean. The general style of the brand is very brash and colorful, very close attention to detail, and to me this is a very dandy style of dressing, which is my personality, really. And the peacock in my logo is very expressive.
TP: Why the peacock?
MW: In nature, the male peacock is the very colorful one with the tail feathers and chases after the female pea-hen or pea-fowl. This is a very showy way of doing things, and I only do it for the two Fs: fighting, and you know the other one. I’m the peacock, that’s my spirit animal.
TP: How did you get to this place? Where did you grow up?
MW: I was born in Jamaica, West Indies, and at a young age we moved to New York, USA to Long Island, Queens. The culture was very Caribbean and Jamaican. In terms of dressing up in style, the first essence I had of that is the way that my mother and father dressed. Even though we didn’t have much, they were always very well put together and made sure like everything was looking good. Whenever they brought us to church on Sunday and other random days of the week, we would be dressed very well. It’s about personal style, I’ve always had that.
TP: Who is your inspiration?
MW: My mother. She did a lot with very little, and she was all about reuse or fix or sew it up, kind of thing. And then when I started to see what was out there, there were the street hustlers— the guys who had their flashy cars and flashy chains and that whole urban beat boy style, in the 80s, and that crossing over with later, like the roaring 20s, that jazz era— I really like how people dressed and acted. That whole amalgamation has come together, it’s classic styling with nouveau.
TP: What are your thoughts on Dapper Dan?
MW: Dapper Dan is definitely a style icon. He’s a movement in and of himself. He had the foresight to do with brands what brands weren’t doing with themselves. He’s a visionary, that’s finally got his due. After being litigated by such a big brand and to give face to in a certain genre of people, that should have been a thank you from back then. He’s a visionary, legend, icon.
TP: How did you get to Dubai?
MW: The short story is because I had a friend in Dubai who was invited by the royal family. I was to help her with a production and photography, and it was interesting. I found a job in publishing for a lifestyle publication and I did that for a bit, and then I did some shows, managed some bands, did some event nights, the odd hustle job here and there in the city of sand. That’s what I like about Dubai, you can really recreate yourself. It’s very dynamic. Then I started getting my own things tailored 7 years ago, and since then, it has escalated.
TP: Are you a hustler or a business man?
MW: I’m a business man. I think the difference between hustling and business is that one is for the long term, and when you hustle, it’s just random things. I think we’re more set towards businesses picking up a conglomerate lifestyle where we have several things running at the same time.
TP: So, you are not a tailor, you are a designer.
MW: Yes. One of my hats is a designer hat.
TP: What are your other hats?
MW: Humanitarian. Intellectual. Traveler. Student.
TP: Tell me about your home line.
MW: We started Lea Claude Caribe which is based on pillows, at the moment. Going around to various friends’ places, I noticed that it’s the hip thing to have decorative pillows. I smacked my logo on the pillow, which is a very noble peacock, and it looks very regal, I’ve been told. Speaking of inspiration, it’s inspired by Versace. I really like that Versace is unapologetically loud and, in your face, and here I am kind of thing. So, Medusa, meet peacock.
TP: In the 90s a lot of people hated Versace. Do you think that you’re more elegant than Versace?
MW: The comparison is difficult. Because I wear a lot of hats and it’s not my main thing, I don’t have to make fashion for anyone, I just do it for myself right now, which has been a very liberating existence. I think I am a lot more flexible than other designers- it’s not that we must create a line. I just wear what I want, and someone likes it and says can I have something like that? It’s more so a one-to-one origin moment. We don’t yet have a massive production shop, so everything is still hands-on. I touch every fabric and everything I create.
TP: Do you create for men and women?
MW: Yes, I’ve just recently started creating for women which has been enlightening. I think when you don’t have these intimate relationships with women’s apparel, it’s hard to know what a woman needs. One can say anything about her mind, but when you really understand what fits her, and how she looks in a certain silhouette, I believe that this is the key to understanding.
TP: If you could dress one man and one woman in the world, who would they be?
MW: For a man, I would dress Idris Elba.
TP: Oh, what would you put him in?
MW: I picture that Idris and I are going to the polo matches, and we’re going to meet some friends, an international crowd. He would be wearing suede loafers, light colors, like a tar heel baby blue, lime green linen trousers, and a white jacket. We’ll do a light blue shirt as well to match the shoes and a yellow pocket square.
TP: Which woman would you choose?
MW: It’s got to be Naomi Campbell. I mean, do I need a reason? She’s the queen!
TP: What’s the scenario, what’s she wearing?
MW: Naomi and I are going to Cannes film festival. She hired a private jet because it’s my birthday, and I’m like you don’t have to do that girl! Obviously, I need to stock her on a couple of looks. For the most elegant, I’m thinking a long number, floor length. I like a plunging backline for some sex appeal. And she has a lovely back, so we accentuate that, and it will also make her neck look statuesque. I think the strap should be very, very delicate spaghetti straps.
TP: A column dress? Or with a low back?
MW: It’s got some shape in there as well— it would come in a bit and then out a bit. A slink along kind of thing. We could do a lot of embroidery all along the bodice and a full-on Swarovski, maybe a neutral tone, seashells. Not actual seashells, but iridescent.
TP: What do you think the most underrated accessory is?
MW: The most underrated accessory is a tie pin. All shirts used to be made with two holes in the collar for a tie pin. Now, it’s a luxury to even ask for that, and where will you find a tie pin anymore? But what they do for that knot of the tie is beautiful.
TP: What is your favorite aspect of your production or designing company?
MW: I think with anything I do business-wise, my favorite aspect is the flexibility, negotiation, and freedom.
TP: What is luxury to you?
MW: Luxury is the ability to live an aspiration.
TP: I like that. It’s nice. It makes sense.
TP: What would you like to be buried in?
MW: So, not buried at all, I would like to be bound by the wrists and legs and then tied up into a fetal position, like you know how you find the mummies? Then they douse me in flammable liquid, flip me over an awesome volcano, maybe in Hawaii, and light me on fire, so it’s like a fireball, and throw me into the volcano, and then fireworks behind it.
TP: Why fireworks?
MW: Because it’s an awesome occasion. I think the pharaohs back in the day would do that. Take us up in a chopper and drop us in the volcano. If that’s not a mic drop moment, I don’t know what is. Dandy out.
TP: What does dandy mean to you?
MW: Dandy is an adjective. It’s a beat, it’s got a rhythm, how you move, and how you talk. Dandy is a responsibility, you need to be a gentleman, you need to be refined, but also you need to be— I don’t want to say a man or a woman— but you need to own your space. Whether you call that being a man or being a woman, your presence is felt when you’re in the room. Dandy is memorable, it’s something someone wants to take with them even after the moment.
TP: What do you want people to know about you?
MW: Service is a bit of humility, because you need to be humble to serve, and I’m paraphrasing here— of all the great things you do on earth, the most important question should be what have you done in service for others? And I think that’s what I want people to think about when they think the Dandy, Lea Claude Caribe, Marlon…I have a big heart. I want to help.
TP: Alright. Thank you for your time!
MW: Dandy out! Volcano drop!