Robert Black Spills Shopping Secrets and Weaknesses to Laurie Notaro for This Year's Shine

Once a year, New Times puts the spotlight on Scottsdale in SHINE, our annual pocket guide. As usual, the 2012 edition includes all the best spots to drink, dine, party, and get a culture fix. But this time around, we're really all about the merchandise. So break out your piggy bank and get ready for a little retail therapy.

Robert Black got his start in the fashion industry as a model and talent agent in the 1980s. He later founded the Ford Robert Black Agency and opened his own fashion mecca in the White Hogan building in downtown Scottsdale.

This week, author and Phoenix New Times contributor Laurie Notaro caught up with Black to talk about his shopping habits for this year's Shine ...

See also: - Shine: Your Pocket Guide to Scottsdale Including Interviews with Creatives by Laurie Notaro - Mixologist Richie Moe Talks Shopping Strategies and Confessions with Laurie Notaro for this Year's Shine - Country Velador Talks Good Design, Small Business, and Shopping in Scottsdale with Laurie Notaro for this Year's Shine

Explain or identify what kind of shopper you are: I am impulsive and strategic but never cautious! If I see it and I love it I buy it (impulsive) and if I need something particular to finish an outfit for an event, I will pursue that till I find it. I am a cufflink freak so I am always looking for a great set. I also love fab suits and sport coats. Just found one that I loved at Galina in Scottsdale and ended up with two one-of-a-kind pieces!

What is your biggest weakness? I love a bargain! I hate paying "retail" for anything but will if I must. Again, shoes...a weakness....and I live in jeans. Basic Levi's with a fashion cut.

What's the last thing you returned? I really have never returned a clothing item... I am pretty secure in what I buy so no need to return. I don't buy unless I love it or "need" it.

Your Moby Dick story--the one item that got away that you still lament not grabbing? I was at a vintage show once and came across a white Nudie Cohen western 50's jacket. Very rare and hard too find. I tried it on, it fit and I thought, "I'll look at it on the way out," bur I forgot and then it was sold. I have kicked myself over and over for not grabbing it and running!

What do you collect? I have over 150 pairs of vintage cufflinks. I also love messenger bags so I have new ones all the time....but my prized newest one is a Louis Vuitton I found at My Sisters Closet's mens section.

What is the one purchase you can say embodies you the best? I love suits and to me all men look good in suits. I like how in the old movies men were always well groomed and pressed. When I put on a stylish suit I feel better, add a cool tie and some cufflinks and I am ready for my close up! I'm not sure what it says about me except that maybe at the end of the day I want to look my best and a suit always makes me feel more confident!

What is the one object/piece you think everyone should have at least one of? For men it is a great watch. It is something that can be passed from generation to generation and the perfect accessory for day or evening!

The one thing you would grab if your house was on fire? My LV bag and then stuff it with as many of my crazy shoes as possible!!

Best place in Scottsdale to shop? For cufflinks and vintage women's clothing, my store of course. Beyond that hit the boutiques, and the locally owned. You can find much more interesting items..

Closing remarks: For me clothing is meant to be fun. There is a time and place for everything so my closet goes from basic black loafers to rhinestone boots .A basic navy pinstripe suit to a lipstick red suit. I never settle because it is proper I like to push the envelope. Yesterday I bought a bow tie made out of leggos created by a young design graduate of FIDM in LA and have asked him to make matching cufflinks and tuxedo studs. I could be dead in the morning so what is the point of being safe ... Live life with passion for what you love ... I love fashion and art so if one day I am the crazy old man in the weird plaid jacket so be it!

Laurie Notaro is the author of several books, including the New York Times' best-seller The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club and It Looked Different on the Model. Catch up with her on her website.

See more Scottsdale shopping highlights and must-sees in the "Shop" section of this year's Shine.

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton