NEW YORK — At 10:15 a.m. on a Tuesday during New York Fashion Week, Brad Goreski steps out of the tents at Lincoln Center kitted out in a pair of distressed Dsquared2 jeans, a Michael Kors chambray shirt and a pair of Christian Louboutin high-top sneakers, finished off with a color-blocked leather motorcycle jacket in black and cobalt blue.
An unabashed peacock, the bespectacled star of Bravo's It's a Brad Brad World is having a hard time making it a couple hundred feet to Columbus Avenue thanks to a scrum of reporters, photographers and fans.
Despite a day full of runway shows, meetings, appearances and events, Goreski happily shakes hands, poses for pictures and answers questions for video crews.
It happens again an hour and a half later, shortly after Goreski takes his seat in the front row at the Rodarte runway show. Flashes pop, hands are shaken and a woman with a reporter's notebook sidles up to him and asks: "If Rodarte had a perfume, what would it smell like?"
Goreski hesitates for a split second before answering: "Sunflowers and outer space."
"People come up to me and ask me questions like that all the time," he says afterward. "It makes me feel like I'm on a quiz show."
Anyone not part of the fashion cognoscenti might have a few questions at this point — such as who, exactly, is Brad Goreski, what is he doing on television? And why have nearly a million people tuned in each week since the start of the year to watch this man from Port Perry, Ontario, jet around to runway shows, rifle through rolling racks of garments and style celebrity clients while wearing a closet full of cartoon-colored clothes?
The answer begins 3½ years ago, with the debut in September 2008 of another Bravo show, The Rachel Zoe Project, which parachuted Goreski into American popular culture as an assistant to celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe. Goreski, now 34, who had graduated from the University of Southern California that year with a degree in art history and worked for three months as an assistant to Vogue magazine's West Coast editor Lisa Love, emerged as one of the reality show's central secondary characters and appeared in the first three seasons.
Zoe and Goreski have gone their separate ways. Asked about Zoe and the whispered speculation that they are feuding or fake-feuding for publicity, he shrugs. "She doesn't speak to me — I have no idea why," he says. "It happened before my show ever got picked up. I work with one of her former clients, but I didn't solicit her."
Now the former assistant has invited cameras along as he tries to build his own roster of A-list clientele. The result is pretty much the sum of its interchangeable reality-TV parts: photo shoots, foreign travel, domestic banter (the other key player in the series is Goreski's longtime boyfriend, Family Guy writer Gary Janetti), workplace stress and tears — lots and lots of tears. Goreski is an inveterate weeper, and the water flows with such regularity on the show that one might wonder whether all those bow ties and velvet blazers have been given a proper coating of Scotchgard.
The first seven episodes have averaged 984,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. That might be less than half the number who tune into the lead-in reality soap The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but it's a decent number for the sort of program it is, and reviewers generally have been positive about the show. Bravo has yet to announce whether It's a Brad Brad World will be back for a second season, but it already has helped catapult Goreski's career into high gear. His client list has swollen from a single name — Jessica Alba — to include Demi Moore, Christina Ricci, Rashida Jones, Shay Mitchell and Noomi Rapace. His first book (Born to Be Brad: My Life and Style So Far with Elle columnist Mickey Rapkin) is due in stores Tuesday. And in early January, the Kate Spade clothing and accessories label announced that Goreski had inked a two-year deal to be its first — and exclusive — brand stylist, a gig that will have him working on advertising campaigns, e-commerce shoots and fashion presentations through 2013.
Which is why he has made it a point to adjust his schedule to account for his celebrity status.
"It's stop and start, and I kind of have to build in a little extra time," he says after navigating from the Lincoln Center tents to Columbus Avenue. "But it's better to have them stop you than to let you walk by."