Buzz Bissinger: best-selling author, family man, raging shopaholic. In the latest issue of GQ, Bissinger — whose 1990 book Friday Night Lights spawned both a movie and a TV series — chronicles his addiction to shopping.
Having kept a detailed account of his spending, Bissinger says he spent an astonishing $587,412.97 on clothes between 2010 and 2012. His affinity for leather jackets, boots and accessories from Gucci earned him preferred customer status at the Italian luxury brand and a trip to Milan Fashion Week, where he dropped $51,000 in four days.
I own forty-three pieces of Gucci—twelve leather jackets, six evening jackets, five pairs of pants, six pairs of boots, four shirts, seven pairs of gloves, and three scarves. I own items from Acne, Affliction, Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, Balmain, Band of Outsiders, Belstaff, Bottega Veneta, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Chanel, Charles David, Diane von Furstenberg, Helmut Lang, Ines, Jan Hilmer, J.Crew, Jimmy Choo, Jitrois, Jos. A. Bank, Joseph, Junker Designs, Loewe, Lucchese, Marc Jacobs, Mr. S Leather, Nike, Northbound Leather, Prada, Rag & Bone, Ralph Lauren, Roberto Cavalli, Saint Laurent, 7 For All Mankind, Thomas Wylde, Valentino, Versace, and Wesco. I also have had several pieces custom-made for me by an amazing designer named Carla Dawn Behrle, who specializes in leather; they’re worth every penny and more, given her fastidiousness and attention to detail. I apologize to those letters of the alphabet I have not gotten to yet. Zara, don’t give up hope.
“There was a time earlier in my life when I loved to write, the same feeling of orgasm that I now get with clothing,” he muses. “…Clothing became the stimulation and attention I craved.”
Bissinger considers the psychological factors that led to his compulsion — from a childhood memory of his “anti-status” father buying a pair of Gucci loafers, to an adult life marked by anxiety, depression and repressed sexual proclivities. Once a regular suit-and-tie guy, he is pictured wearing a head-to-toe leather outfit, the kind of look he says “represents who I want to be and have become—rocker, edgy, tight, bad boy, hip, stylish, flamboyant, unafraid, raging against the conformity that submerges us into boredom and blandness and the sexless saggy sackcloths that most men walk around in like zombies without the cinematic excitement of engorging flesh.” When a fellow Gucci big spender tells him he resembles Bon Jovi, Bissinger says it’s “a compliment that at this point in my life means more to me than any piece of writing.”
Though he sees a therapist and has agreed to get counseling for sex addiction, Bissinger concedes that he is “nowhere near bottomed out.”
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