At 10:15 a.m. on a Tuesday during New York Fashion Week, Brad Goreski steps out of the tents at Lincoln Center kitted out in a pair of distressed Dsquared2 jeans, a chambray Michael Kors shirt and a pair of Christian Louboutin high-top sneakers finished off with a color-blocked leather motorcycle jacket in black and a shade of cobalt blue so vivid it catches the eye from across the street.
An unabashed peacock of the fashion flock, the bespectacled star ofBravo’s"It’s a Brad, Brad World” is having a hard time making it a couple of hundred feet to Columbus Avenue thanks to a scrum of reporters, photographers and fans.
Despite a day crammed full of runway shows, meetings, appearances and events, Goreski happily obliges all comers, shaking hands, posing for pictures and answering questions for video crews. If there were babies to kiss and autographs to sign, he gives the impression he’d cheerfully do that as well.
It happens again an hour and a half later, shortly after Goreski takes his seat in the front row at the Rodarte runway show. Flashes pop, hands are shaken and a woman clutching a reporter’s notebook and pen sidles up to him and asks: “If Rodarte had a perfume, what would it smell like?”
Goreski hesitates for a split second before answering: “Sunflowers and outer space.”
“People come up to me and ask me questions like that all the time,” he says afterward. “It makes me feel like I’m on a quiz show.”
Anyone not part of the fashion cognoscenti may have a few questions at this point — like who, exactly, is Brad Goreski, what is he doing on television and why have just shy of a million people tuned in each week since the start of the year to watch this 34-year-old Canada native from Port Perry, Ontario, jet around to runway shows, rifle through rolling racks of garments and style celebrity clients while wearing a closet full of cartoon-colored clothes?
The answer has its roots 31/2 years ago with the debut in September 2008 of another Bravo show, “The Rachel Zoe Project,"which parachuted Goreski into American popular culture as an assistant to celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe. Goreski, who had graduated from USC that year with a degree in art history and worked for three months as an assistant to Vogue magazine’s West Coast editor Lisa Love, emerged as one of the docu-series’ central secondary characters and appeared throughout the first three seasons.
Today, Zoe and Goreski have gone their separate ways. Asked about his relationship with Zoe and the whispered speculation that the two are either feuding or fake-feuding for publicity’s sake, Goreski shrugs. “She doesn’t speak to me — I have no idea why,” he says. “It happened before my show ever got picked up. I work with one of her former clients, but I didn’t solicit her.”
Now, as second-generation reality royalty, the former assistant has invited cameras along as he tries to build his own roster of A-list clientele. The result is pretty much the sum of its interchangeable reality TV parts: photo shoots, foreign travel, domestic banter (the other key player in the series is Goreski’s longtime boyfriend,"Family Guy"writer Gary Janetti), workplace stress and tears — lots and lots of tears. Goreski is an inveterate weeper, and the waterworks flow with such regularity on the show one ends up wondering if all those bow ties and velvet blazers have been given a proper coating of Scotchgard.
The first seven episodes have averaged 984,000 viewers according to Nielsen, and, while that may be less than half the number that tune into the lead-in reality soap"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,"it’s a decent number of eyeballs for the sort of program it is, and reviewers have been generally positive about the show. The season finale is scheduled to air at 10 p.m. Monday, and while Bravo has yet to announce whether “It’s a Brad Brad World” will be back for a second season, it’s already helped catapult Goreski’s career into high gear.
His client list has swollen from a single name — Jessica Alba — to include Demi Moore, Christina Ricci, Rashida Jones, Shay Mitchell and Noomi Rapace. His first book (“Born to Be Brad: My Life and Style So Far” with Elle columnist Mickey Rapkin) is due to hit store shelves March 6. And on the day in early January when the show debuted, the Kate Spade clothing and accessories label announced that Goreski had inked a two-year deal to serve as its first — and exclusive — brand stylist, a gig that will have him working on advertising campaigns, e-commerce shoots and fashion presentations through 2013.
Deborah Lloyd, Kate Spade’s president and creative director, says that although Goreski was tapped for the task based on his talents and insight into the brand (they’d worked together as far back as the label’s fall-winter 2011 presentation last year), his rapidly rising pop culture profile certainly hasn’t hurt.
At this year’s Spade presentation during New York Fashion Week, “it was amazing the amount of coverage we had, the hits we had and the people that picked up something about us or were talking about us,” Lloyd says. “I don’t know for certain, but it seemed like the fact that Brad and I were working together helped that. His notoriety is out there, his show is out there and it was kind of the perfect storm.”
Lloyd calls Goreski a true gentleman. “He’s just a really, really nice guy. He’s generous and warm to everybody. Whether it’s the models, the makeup artists, the girls doing the nails or serving the food, he’s extremely respectful.”
It’s a trait others point out as well. “He’s very enthusiastic,” says Arthur Wayne, vice president of global public relations for Brooks Brothers, who first met Goreski while the latter was still in Zoe’s employ. “He learned from the best in the business, and I think he’s genuinely enjoying coming into his own. He seems grateful and appreciative that he’s been so embraced both within the fashion world and by the consumer.”
Which is why, now that he’s getting stopped for photographs, introductions and silly questions four times as much as he was during the last New York Fashion Week, Goreski has made it a point to adjust his schedule to account for his current celebrity status.
“It’s stop and start, and I kind of have to build in a little extra time,” he says after successfully navigating from the Lincoln Center tents to Columbus Avenue. “But it’s better to have them stop you than to let you walk by.”