The New York Times can’t seem to make up its mind when it comes to Jay Fielden — and his hair. In a rather worshipful profile of the Esquire editor in chief in the Sunday Styles section this past weekend, the paper described his wavy auburn locks as a cross between those of Oscar Wilde and Wild Bill Hickok.
To be exact, writer Alex Williams described Fielden as “wearing a steel-blue Ferragamo suit and sporting what may be the best head of male hair in the magazine industry, a cascade of artfully coifed curls that calls to mind both the belletrist whimsy of Oscar Wilde and the gunslinger gusto of Wild Bill Hickok.”
The problem is that an equally fawning 2013 New York Times article about the house he rebuilt in Connecticut after a disastrous fire described Fielden’s flowing mane as “Mick Jagger-like.”
So, WWD wondered, how does Fielden actually see himself? Is he a gunslinger shooting away while reciting poetry (à la Val Kilmer in “Tombstone,” to add yet another comparison) — or is he a snake-hipped rocker belting out the blues?
Fielden told WWD: “I think Wild Bill Hickok might be the most accurate based on an Instagram photo I posted yesterday. Check it out and let me know if you agree.”
The editor had indeed posted a black-and-white side-by-side of him wearing a cowboy hat next to an image of Hickok, professing his true “hairspiration.”
Instead of a “who wore it better” caption, Fielden wrote: “What exactly was it that made @alexwilliamsnyc @nytimesfashion think I had something in common with gunfighter, actor, spy, gambler Wild Bill Hickok?”
It could not be determined if Fielden had flashed the photo to The Times writer to facilitate a comparison, if he staged an impromptu photo shoot after the story published — or if he had that image just lying around.