Pressing Questions

The Gilt MAN Q&A: Raphael Saadiq

Talking style with a neo-soul sensation.
Photos: Rose Callahan

Stone rollin' at The Raines Law Room in NYC

Raphael Saadiq’s influences span multiple generations and genres–from bebop to hip hop–and it’s a formula that won him a Grammy nomination for the record The Way I See It. He’s back with a well received follow-up, Stone Rollin’, and a curated sale for Gilt MAN (live Friday, May 27 at noon ET). We sat down with Mr. Saadiq to talk style influences, Leicas, and the one thing he’d never leave behind.

Where do you you look for style inspiration?
It’s definitely an archival thing. Like, the Paris side of Miles, early Sidney Poitier, you know his early films. I love looking at that and kind of coming at it with a little bit of street edge. But then also Spanish culture, old salsa dancers, and definitely that Cuban sense of style. It’s all these things fused into one.

Have your style and influences changed over time?
It’s definitely evolved. And keeps evolving. I feel real lucky to be from the Bay Area. You know, there’s so many influences. You got jazz musicians around and every other kind of influence so you can just pick things up along the way and evolve. I like to think I’m always growing but sort of staying the same. Always growing, bringing in different things, and in a certain direction.

It’s Saturday morning, you’ve got a rare day off, what are you most comfortable throwing on and heading out the door?
Definitely depends on the circumstances. If I’m headed to Abbot Kinney [in Venice, Ca.] it’s shorts and trainers, a plaid button down. I always feel comfortable in Paul Smith, lots of Supreme. But maybe it’s just a tee and some sneakers.

What are you really feeling right now?
Old leather boots. Lace-ups, distressed and in a nice shape in the front, not all squared off.

So glad you said that. So let’s move to your closet at home. Everything’s getting thrown away, no choice, but you can keep one thing. What is it?
Stetson newspaper boy hat. I’m grabbing that before anything.

Awesome. What kind of camera is that?
Leica. I’m trying to learn all the settings, inside and outside.

You taking that everywhere you go?
Oh yeah. I’m trying to be my own videographer. I mean, we have a videographer on tour but this is more of a first person thing. Documenting things as I come across them.

Is this something you plan on showing us, the humble public?
Oh yeah, you’ll definitely see it at some point down the road.

Shop Stone Rollin’ Style with Raphael Saadiq, Friday May 27 at noon ET.

Stone Rollin’, by Raphael Saadiq, available now on iTunes.

Sharpest-looking air tie we've seen in a while.

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  1. Xavier says:

    I love LOVE his style! I was at his concert in April and he made 3 or 4 changes. It was cool to see a male singer do so many “costume changes” and not in a diva[o] kinda way. He just had fun with it and he was in the bay area having a great hometown show.

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