Vogue | Bella Hadid’s Bodyguard Simon Newton on Dressing to Impress
Though the name won’t sound familiar, you’ll no doubt recognize Simon Newton’s face. He’s the buff British bodyguard looming large in the background of countless paparazzi pictures, most notably Bella Hadid’s. With his piercing (hot!) icy blue eyes, distinctive personal style, and uncanny resemblance to Jason Statham, Newton stands out. Take a closer look and you’ll notice just how much he pays attention to sartorial details: the eye-catching socks that match the lining of his jacket, the glinting Hermès belt buckle peeking out from his shirt. “I’ve always taken a bit of pride in what I’m wearing,” he tells me in a surprisingly chirpy London accent. “I carry that on to work.”
Newton was in the British army for 16 years and a segue into the world of bodyguarding was a natural progression. His roster has included a slew of high-profile players over the years: British politicians and royals, bona fide megastars (Michael Jackson!), and supermodels (Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, and now Bella Hadid is his only client—Newton is using the extra time to focus on his burgeoning acting career). While there aren’t many official uniform restrictions for a job like his, Newton imposes his own particular dress code. “A lot of guys will wear a suit day and night,” he says. “If I wear a suit, I usually wear a three-piece, a pocket watch, and a pocket square. It’s the little bits and pieces.” An example of just how precise he is? The bodyguard recently bought a suit jacket but didn’t like the buttons so he had them specially swapped out.
Despite his meticulousness, Newton is pretty versatile when it comes to outfit choices. It’s not unlikely to see him in a hoodie one day and a suit the next. And being nimble is a necessary part of the job when your boss is as fashion-forward as Ms. Hadid. While Newton doesn’t know exactly what she’ll in fact be wearing each day, he has worked with the model for about two years and can glean from the itinerary how to dress accordingly. “I’m always trying to dress casual with Bella because that is certainly what she does,” he says. “If I’m coming out in a suit and she’s in a tracksuit, it looks a bit daft,” he says. “I always make a point, too, to get changed for the evening. I never go out in the nighttime in the same clothes that I wear in the day.” His most recognizable working staples include a bomber jacket by Alpha Industries that he’ll pair with faded black Diesel jeans, an Hermès belt, and Louis Vuitton trainers. (“That’s a look for me [that] I like a lot,” says Newton.) On his more dapper days, Newton will opt for a Vivienne Westwood shirt with a button-down collar. “My two favorite designers are Tom Ford and Vivienne Westwood.” He later wrote, “Quite different.” Given that attending fashion shows is one of the perks of the job, his knowledge of the runway is only getting better. He’s gotten VIP access at Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, Topshop, Versace, and Tom Ford, where he mentioned: “I like the suits!”
Even though bodyguards have long been on the periphery of the red carpet and celebrity culture, Newton and his fashion smarts are primed for the spotlight right now. The brolic bodyguard look is having a moment in fashion: Vetements included a bodyguard “stereotype” in its Fall 2017 show, and Balenciaga included bodyguards in its staged paparazzi Spring 2018 campaign. That said, Newton hardly subscribes to that archetypal aesthetic. He swears he’s never taken style direction from Hadid or anyone else for that matter. “No, she hasn’t [given me advice] and really, I wouldn’t listen anyway!” he says. “I just do my own thing. I’ve always done that. If you listen to what other people say, it won’t be your thing anymore.”
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