Perhaps every person that visits the Hamptons regularly has heard about a mysterious place in Water Mill called “The Castle.” The rumors suggest that absolutely anything could happen on the estate of Ivan Wilzig, AKA Sir Ivan. There is the typical hyperbole of “sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll,” but the best stories include massive art performances, DJ sets and elaborate themed celebrations. Last summer, Ben and I were invited to one of the annual Sir Ivan parties in the Hamptons where, after a lovely conversation with Sir Ivan, I received approval to interview this enigmatic man.
Much has happened in Ivan’s life since my interview. Sir Ivan has collaborated with Taylor Dayne and Paul Oakenfold and released a new single titled “Kiss All the Bullies Goodbye.” The single quickly climbed “Top 10 Billboard” charts and stayed there for many weeks. Then Mr. Wilzig got media attention because of his generous donation of $100,000 to 10 anti-bullying organizations that support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens. This month Page Six was gossiping about the upcoming Castle party that has reunited the feuding members of the Village People after years of discord.
In this exclusive interview for StyleSprinter blog, Sir Ivan (aka Ivan Wilzig) you will learn everything you wanted to know about Sir Ivan’s style, music, and partying.
On being a hippie: I do consider myself a hippie. To be specific, I consider myself as a soul of hippie. There are many musicians and business people that share the beliefs of hippies so they shave their heads, put on an orange robe, and go to live in India. I’m not religious that way, but I like the hippie flavor in my life without actually having to live in a tent or on the beach.
On his “tech-hippie” music: I came up with this term because, in the very beginning, I thought it was the most accurate term to describe the music that I was doing. I mean, you can say it’s just doing techno music, or just doing house music, or now just EDM music because the name keeps changing, but it’s all dance music. And I thought “tech-hippie” described it best because the tracks were techy and the lyrics were remixed from the 60s. So the “tech-hippie” term said it all.
On his father-son relationships: My father was the CEO of a large oil company and bank. It enabled me to live in a castle. I worked for my father in the bank for 20 years doing the creative stuff there, but you can only be so creative in a bank because the banks are the most conservative business institutions in America. So, even though I worked in the Ad Department, the business Development Department, the Marketing Department, I always felt that I was creatively repressed. So after 20 years of a corporate job I went to see the world. Once I gained my freedom, my creativity exploded.
On his cape collection: I had various people design the capes in the very beginning. They’ve definitely gone through an evolution of different prototypes, and some were designed specifically for performing in shows, others for going to parties and events in. Over the years, I’ve always had one in every color. For example, if it was Saint Patrick’s Day, I’d wear a green cape. If it was Valentine’s Day, a red cape. For a gay movement or a gay rights event, I’d wear a pink cape. A white one in the summer, a yellow one in the winter.
On matching styles: For every cape Daddy has, Bambi has one too.
On lap dogs: The one that wore the cape for 15 years, unfortunately passed away, was Chiquita. She was white, less spoiled than this one, and a lot less aggressive. Chiquita wore the cape for 15 years, and now Bambi has inherited the role and now she wears the capes.
On cape evolution: I didn’t grow up wearing capes, so, there’s a learning process. First, they were making them too heavy and they were annoying to wear. They matched the shirt but the medallion in the front was too heavy for the shirt, and it started to weigh it down. So, that became a problem. Then, they designed them so that the peace sign on the back was an outline of a peace sign in quartz and rhinestones, and I wore them for a while. And right now, I took it to the nicest level because now the peace is filled in with rhinestones, so, it looks like a thousand diamonds on my back when the light hits it. So, it’s a great effect.
On favorite designs and designers: I like Pucci a lot. I like Dolce and Gabbana.Of all the colors, fuchsia or hot pink is the color that I like the most, especially under black lights.
On being naked: I always thought the necktie was the stupidest thing ever invented on Earth because it just feels like you’re choking to death. It’s very constricting, and hot, and annoying. And all you do is get food on it, and then you have to throw it away. So, I hated wearing a suit and tie. The jacket? Couldn’t stand the jacket. You had to wear it, with the sweat under the armpits. Then you had the tie, it gets wetter on the neck, and I despised it. So I’d put it away when I got home, usually just to get naked. I didn’t put on any clothes, but if I did put on clothes, it was fun, loose, bright stuff.
On collecting stuff: I have a collection of peace signs from all over the world. Watches, rings, necklaces, bracelets, pillows, candles, notebook pads… People know: give me something with a peace sign on it, and I will love it.
On office dress code: While working in the bank, I was wearing banker suits. Striped suits, dark suits, navy, gray, dark brown, black. In that way, when you’re looking at me, at least, you saw a business man. But even in the bank, I wasn’t wearing traditional ties. I was wearing Versace and Valentino, and all the Italian and French designers.
On cologne strategy: I like wearing whatever cologne my girlfriend wants me to wear—that turns her on. I never buy cologne because whomever I’m dating buys me cologne. I can’t even smell it—my nose is always stuffed. Right now, I’m wearing Mulberry Blue, and it’s driving the girls crazy. When they stop going crazy, another girlfriend will buy me different cologne, and I will wear that.
On being Sir Ivan: It became my stage name because I built a castle in the Hamptons. Since my brother and I built the Castle, I put Sir Ivan on my Jaguar and Sir Alan on his Ferrari. I thought it was cute, two brothers in this medieval castle and they both drive these exotic sports cars. When I got my first concert I had to pick a name. There is no artist in the world that has the word “Sir” in front of it. Except for like… Elton John, Rico Star, Paul McCartney…but they were all British. You have to be British to be knighted. So here I am, so I tell people, “Well, I didn’t wait for the Queen of England to give me permission to build my own castle, so I am not waiting around for her to knight me.” And that’s how I became Sir Ivan; I knighted myself because I owned a knight’s castle in the Hamptons.
On being a Peaceman: The reason I keep putting the peace sign on my clothing, my limo, and my apartment is a philosophy on how to be kind, generous, and helpful to other people, especially those who are less fortunate than you. The nicer you or your friends become, or your community becomes, hopefully, the world becomes better.
On being a Superhero: My friend Stanley hand-picked me to be on a reality show called Who Wants To Be A Superhero on the Sci-Fi Network. It was all fun. I flew to Hollywood and auditioned, became one of the top 10 finalists, and then I got the contract. Contract said they were going to own all of the intellectual property, including my Peaceman name, costume, and my whole life story. For 10 years I had a charity called The Peaceman Foundation. People know me as Sir Ivan (aka Peaceman) when I get on stage. I can’t give it up. I said, “I’m Peaceman and you’re not getting it.” So they said, “Become another superhero.” I put my thinking cap on and I said, “Wait a second. I’m going to be the World’s First Jewish superhero. So, I’m going to be Mitzvah Man,” like Good-deed-man.
On Hamptons style: I’m certainly not trying to copy any fashion that you’ll find in the Hamptons. To me, it’s boring and too traditional—kind of preppy, kind of yuppie. Definitely not my style!
On his annual Hamptons party: In most cases when you have a charity party, you have people from the organization making speeches one after another, and as soon as you have a party where it’s too much speech making, you put the people to sleep because they get a little bored. So, I came up with a clever way. The underlying basis is to be a charity party, but it doesn’t look or feel like a charity party. You won’t see me making speeches. You won’t see me asking people for money. It is more like a Great Gatsby-like party that’s just over the top, very theatrical, and nothing but fun.
On having a unique style: My biggest recommendation to Style Sprinter readers is to create your own individual style like I have and not worry so much about what their girlfriends are wearing or what their neighbors are wearing, or what they’re pushing in the fashion magazines. They should just wear what they feel like, when they feel like it, and what makes them most comfortable and feel the best about themselves.