Most stylish New Yorkers: Marcus Samuelsson

The bow-tie-loving chef culls inspiration from Bowie, Marc Jacobs and Sweden.

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  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Samuelsson shows off a Chefwear jacket and a pair of Cheap Monday jeans. "I worked with the Chefwear team to design a shirt that had the cool look and feel of my favorite vintage denim shirt," he says. "I wanted an alternative to the typical white chef's jacket."

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    A Je Ne Sais Quoi tie adds extra flair to Samuelsson's working uniform.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    The chef met with Tracy Reese a few months before Red Rooster Harlem opened, looking for another element to help infuse life into his dining room. "She showed us some fun, reversible patterns that had a very tribal but bright print on one side, and a more feminine, floral print that tied into a lot of the vintage elements we have all over the restaurant on the other," Samuelsson explains. The result is this bistro apron.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    In the kitchen, Samuelsson trades his Converse All-Stars for a pair of Mozo shoes.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    A hat found at the Market NYC, Young Designer's Market tops off the ensemble. "I love a little flair, especially when it's so cold outside," says Samuelsson.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    A dandy look features a red velvet Yves Saint Laurent jacket from the '70s. "Even though I wash and dry-clean regularly, my clothes still have stains from the cooking I do, like a painter has paint on their clothes."

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Samuelsson models a bow tie by one of his favorite designers, Michel Men. "I still don't know how to tie it properly," the foodie says with a laugh. "But it's fun yet sophisticated."

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    These Missoni Converse are one of at least 15 pairs of Chucks that Samuelsson owns. "I think I could have a Converse museum exhibit; they are that legit," he jokes.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Samuelsson's yellow T-shirt was a gift from a friend in Stockholm, featuring both Swedish and African emblems, with an upside-down map of Africa.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    A pair of worn-in Tod's wingtips found in Italy are covered with a series of grease stains Samuelsson cherishes: "I wore them when I was cooking the President's first state dinner at the White House, and at Red Rooster Harlem's opening," he says. "I really think about the clothing I put on for special events, even when they're not seen---like a T-shirt under my chef's jacket."

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    A worn belt, refurbished from an airplane seat belt, keeps Samuelsson's tweedy trousers in check.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    "My wife picked this scarf up for me at the Merkato, the large market in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia," Samuelsson says of the multihued wrap.

Photograph: Zenith Richards

marcussamuelsson1

Samuelsson shows off a Chefwear jacket and a pair of Cheap Monday jeans. "I worked with the Chefwear team to design a shirt that had the cool look and feel of my favorite vintage denim shirt," he says. "I wanted an alternative to the typical white chef's jacket."

Marcus Samuelsson, 40, chef-owner of Red Rooster Harlem (marcussamuelsson.com), Harlem

His personal style: "It's a mix of Swedish and Ethiopian aesthetics, with a bit of New York City. It might mean I've bought my jeans in Sweden, a scarf or a hat from Ethiopia, shoes from the Lower East Side and jacket either from a vintage shop in Harlem or Barneys. I like to mix it up, but I dress based on my heritage and what I'm going through at the moment. Everything I own is marked or stained—despite how many times it gets cleaned—but I like it, because it tells my story."

His inspirations: "Music inspires my style, whether it's a jazz musician, David Bowie or Marvin Gaye."

Favorite stores: "I love to go to [The Market NYC,] Young Designers' Market (268 Mulberry St between W Houston and Prince Sts, themarketnyc.com; Sat, Sun 11am--7pm) to discover something new. I also like the huge Salvation Army in Hell's Kitchen (536 W 46th St between Tenth and Eleventh Aves; 212-757-2311, salvationarmyusa.org) and Marc Jacobs (various locations throughout the city; visit marcjacobs.com for info)."

His signature item: "I wear really good shoes. I'm on my feet all day, and if you have great shoes and a fun jacket, it's easy to dress up. When you're a creative person in the business field, you have to be dressed for your trade—but also be prepared to jump into a meeting."

Favorite designers: "I like Mckenzie Liautaud's bow ties, because he handcrafts them, and I can relate to that as a chef. I love the Marc Jacobs store down in the West Village (301 W 4th St at Bank St; 212-929-0304, marcjacobs.com), because the collection is well edited. B. Michael (bmichaelamerica.com) makes amazing jackets. Michel Men ties, again, because he handcrafts. LaQuan Smith (laquansmith.com) and Zac Posen (zacposen.com) don't make menswear, but I find them to be talented and brilliant storytellers. It's exciting to watch all of these designers grow."

How his style has evolved through the years: "Growing up in Sweden, there was a lot of H&M in my closet. It was about fitting in because, truthfully, I always stood out. In the last 20 years, I've traveled all over the world. I love going to places like Tokyo and Cape Town and London, and picking out clothing that is distinctive of the locale. A lot of my clothes now are a reflection of where I've been and cooked."

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