David Duchovny: In Style

From the inaugual Australian issue of In Style magazine, April 2000

Man Of Style

Leaning back in a oversize leather chair inside his X-Files trailer, David Duchovny absentmindedly tosses a baseball into the air while waiting to be called back to the set - probably for one of the show's last episodes. Even though he's wearing Agent Fox Mulder's standard uptight garb - black suit, blue shirt and striped tie - he seems amazingly nonchalant. Scattered about are a few baby toys, a large plastic exercise ball, and a crumpled pair of Calvin Klein pyjamas. "When I do close-ups, I've got on [boxer] shorts or those," reveals the 39-year-old actor with a sly smile. "Whenever Mulder is talking about something intensely, he's sitting in his underwear." His apparent ease is understandable: married for almost three years to actress Tea Leoni, he's still as blissful as a newlywed; his daughter, one-year old Madelaine West, makes him giddy; and, in his seventh season on a hit series, his day job is a breeze.

Long ago crowned "the thinking woman's sex symbol," Duchovny's appeal will expand with the release of Return To Me later this year, a romantic comedy in which he plays a debonair and sensitive architect opposite Minnie Driver. And though the devoted New York Knicks fan and former Yale PhD candidate claims not to think about trivial things like fashion, he does admit to a few sartorial weaknesses. Sharkskin, anyone?

Has Mulder's style evolved through the years? Well, it has as the budget has evolved. Mulder couldn't afford clothes I get to wear on the show. Here we've got a Donna Karan tie and I think this is an Armani suit.

Have you ever kept anything from the wardrobe department? You mean, have nice shirts found their way into my bag at the end of the day by mistake and just never come back to the set? occasionally. But it was just a mistake. You know, Mulder's clothes are great for Mulder, but I don't waer a lot of suits in my personal life.

Do you remember learning how to tie a tie? I wore a tie in grade school. My mother used to tie my tie the first few years. Every morning I'd come in with my tie, and then one day she said, "You can do this. It's not that hard." Now I put a tie on every day the exact same way I did when I was in the fourth grade. I know only one knot. And it's never totally centered.

It works for Mulder. Well, my limitations have become Mulder's choices.

Style-wise, how does Mulder compare with Bob, your character in Return to Me? Casually, they're pretty similar. Bob's a T-shirt-and-jeans guy, as is Mulder. Coincidentally, as is David.

Describe Minnie Driver's style. Minnie's got the great premiere style. You know, when she goes out, she goes out. She's always surprising and fun and sexy. In her own life, she's really simple, probably more like me.

You played a transvestite on Twin Peaks. Did wearing women's clothes make you appreciate what we go through for fashion? That's exactly what it did. I mean that stuff was pretty tight and it wasn't even formfitting. The pantyhose were a nightmare.

Have you ever shaved your legs? Well, I Naired them. It wasn't very professional. Nair is like napalm. You wait a couple minutes and wipe it off. It's pretty magical.

Is there a room in your house that's just yours? My office. I love my office. It's like this trailer. It's small and contained. There's no hidden area where things can get out of control. I painted it a certain colour.

Does this colour have a name? No, it was inspired by colours in Rome. We shot two days of Return To Me there. I came back and said, "I want my walls Mediterranean orange." I'm not the kind of guy that paints and repaints, but I said, "No, that's not it." I actually had them repaint it a couple of times. I was impressed with myself.

Have you travelled much? Some, but I definitely have more to do. When my kid is a little older I want to take her to Europe - certainly Rome, Florence, Paris.

Did you name her after the children's book? No. She's named after the pastry. In Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, the narrator bites into a madeleine, just a simple little pastry, and it makes him remember. It's the reason the whole book comes about.

What do you like to see Tea wearing? She's got great legs, so I like to see her in skirts. I like to see a little skin. If we go out to dinner, it's nice to put my hand on her leg. She has great style, and it has nothing to do with what's hip.

Tea's style is very preppy: men's shirts, a strand of pearls... Always pearls. That style is in now, that kind of preppy golf style. So is Rat Pack style. I like those types of suits. I don't like the ones Mulder wears. I like Cary Grant's in North By Northwest. Those kinds of colours: silver, grey. I like sharkskin. Listen to me now - I'm talking about clothes! I like sharkskin, always did.

It's back in now. It goes in and out of fashion. But I've always liked it. There's a pimpiness to it that speaks to me.

There seems to be a repressed flashiness in you. Totally repressed. The first - and last - time I spent a lot of money for clothes was for a Dolce & Gabbana suit I wore to the Emmys. It was before people were giving me clothes.

When was that? In '95. You see, that's me: Dolce & Gabbana. Tea is much more traditional. She's trying to break me of my pimp habits. That suit I could only describe as something Prince would wear. I bought it and wore it to the Emmys. And I got made fun of.

Was it shiny? It was very much like upholstery. It was kind of purplish. I've thrown it out. [Tea and I] were going through my closet and I thought, that's the only time I've ever made a statement. I didn't know you were supposed to wear a tux.

Is there anyone whose style you admire? I love Mick Jagger's kind of girlie-man stuff. Cut-up T-shirt, showing his belly button. Things like that. I have a lot of different influences going on. I like [Jimi] Hendrix's style. I have a couple of velvet suits.

You like velvet suits? Yep, and velour. I want to feel fun, like I might have a good time. Who knew I had so much to say about fashion?

What about not wearing clothes? Aren't there pictures of you wearing only... A teacup? Yeah. That was a mistake. I mean, not that there was something wrong with [the pictures]; they're just goofy. I'd rather not have pictures of me with a stupid teacup over my genitals. But I did it.

So, is there going to be another season of The X-Files? Well, I'm the only thing standing in the way. We've done plenty of shows. Even I don't remember half of them. I'll see them and think, I have no idea where this is going. This is a real potboiler!

- Angela Matusik