The mayor of New York City is not a labels guy.
“I see something that I like, I’m going to move toward it,” Eric Adams said Thursday evening during an interview in the formal French-wallpapered dining room of Gracie Mansion.
“Sometimes I think people focus too much on a designer,” he added, when asked if he had any favorite New York designers. “Don’t be influenced by who the designer is.”
Even if those designers — including Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Vera Wang and Tommy Hilfiger — were just down the hallway, mingling as they awaited remarks from their city’s mayor.
Mr. Adams was co-hosting a cocktail party to celebrate the start of New York Fashion Week, along with Steven Kolb, chief executive of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and Anna Wintour. This is the second fashion week since Mr. Adams took office. During his first, in February, he was seen sitting in the front row at Mr. Kors’s runway show, beside Ms. Wintour.
The mayor said he now considers his seatmate, whose titles include worldwide chief content officer for Condé Nast and global editorial director of Vogue, a personal friend.
“We just struck up a conversation, and it was an instant attraction,” Mr. Adams said. “You know, you could text Anna at 1 a.m. in the morning and you’re going to get an instant response.” (This was not a hypothetical example, the mayor clarified. He “texts pretty late,” he said, but “she’ll text me late also.”)
The mayor is known for keeping late hours, which he later reminded the fashion crowd: “People thought this city was a nine-to-five city. It was just a flannel suit city. And all of a sudden January 2022 comes about and the mayor comes in and says he’s the nightlife mayor.”
But Mr. Adams’s well-documented appreciation for nightlife is intertwined with his appreciation for fashion. The black tuxedo jacket that he wore to the Met Gala in May — it was illustrated with symbols of the city, like the M.T.A. logo and the Brooklyn Bridge, along with the phrase “End Gun Violence” — came from an artist, Laolu Senbanjo, he met in a club.
“I love clothing,” said the mayor, who is 62 but considers himself “a throwback.” “I’m from the ’50s, when men and women were always concerned about how they look. My dad used to say, when I was a child: ‘If you look good, you feel good, and you present well. Before people eat a meal, they look at a meal.’ So fashion plays a major role in my personal life.”
For Thursday’s cocktail party, he wore a custom navy suit by Taji Gentlemen’s Clothier, a tailor on Madison Avenue. During what he calls his “leisure time,” he likes to wear pieces he has picked up on travels to Asian countries, including Vietnam and China.
The mayor also sees his embrace of the fashion industry as a departure from his predecessors. “I think that we have not had any mayors that wanted to put a signature on the fashion of this city,” he said. While Bill de Blasio hosted a similar event for the CFDA during his first term, Mr. Adams told the crowd he plans to host an event during New York Fashion Week — which he called “a $600 million juggernaut” that brings the city “twice the amount that we’d make if we had the Super Bowl here” — every year that he is mayor.
The pledge earned him a smile and applause from Ms. Wintour, whom Mr. Adams referred to in the same speech as “the angel that wears Prada” — a twist on Ms. Wintour’s fictional persona.
Ms. Wintour did not make a speech. Her mood wasn’t somber, but it was clear the death of Queen Elizabeth II that afternoon had affected her. After the party, Vogue released a statement expressing Ms. Wintour’s “admiration and respect” for the queen, calling her “a perfect example of someone who lived by a clearly defined set of values.”
Pinned to Ms. Wintour’s black sweater at Gracie Mansion was a pink bow, trimmed with white, and pinned to that bow was the medal she was given when she was made dame at Buckingham Palace in 2017. Since then, the medal had been stored away, Ms. Wintour said.
“I thought tonight would be a good night to wear it.”