InStyle Flashback: Talking to David Duchovny About Mulder's Style, Women's Clothes, and a Well-Placed Teacup
Count me among the giddy fans who have cleared their schedules this weekend to witness the return of The X-Files to TV. Sixteen years ago, when the ground-breaking Fox series was wrapping up its then-final season, I visited the set of the show and sat down with David Duchovny to talk about his personal style and how it was reflected in his famous character, the FBI agent and paranormal believer Fox Mulder. Here's an excerpt from that story, which appeared in the April 2000 issue of InStyle. Will Mulder's ties still be askew? Let's tune in Sunday night and see.
Leaning back in an oversize leather chair inside his X-Files trailer, David Duchovny absentmindedly tosses a baseball into the air while waiting to be called back to the set—probably for one of the show's last episodes. Even though he's wearing Agent Fox Mulder's standard uptight G-man Garb—black suit, blue shirt and striped tie—he seems amazingly nonchalant. Scattered about are a few baby toys, a large plastic exercise ball, and a crumpled pair of Calvin Klein pajamas. "When I do close-ups, I've got on shorts or those," reveals the 39-year-old actor with a sly smile. "Whenever Mulder is intensely talking about something, he's sitting in his underwear."
Has Mulder's style evolved through the years?
Well, it has as the budget has evolved. Mulder couldn't afford the clothes I get to wear on the show. Here we've got a Donna Karan tie, and I think this is an Armani suit.
Have you ever kept anything from wardrobe?
You mean, have nice shirts found their way into my bag at the end of the day by mistake and just never come back to the set? Occasionally. But it was just a mistake. My bag happens to be lying open on the floor when I take my clothes off. Sometimes. You know, Mulder's clothes are great for Mulder, but I don't wear a lot of suits in my personal life.
Do you remember learning how to tie a tie?
I wore a tie in grade school. My mother used to tie my tie the first few years. Every morning I'd come in with my tie, and then one day she said, "You can do this. It's not that hard." Now I put a tie on every day the exact same way I did when I was in the fourth grade. I know only one knot. And it's never totally centered. It's always a little off.
It works for Mulder.
Well, my limitations have become Mulder's choices.
You played a transvestite on Twin Peaks. Did wearing women's clothes help you appreciate what we do for fashion?
That's exactly what it did. I mean that stuff was pretty tight and it wasn't even formfitting. The pantyhose were a nightmare.
Have you ever shaved your legs?
Well, I Naired them. It wasn't very professional. Nair is like napalm. You wait a couple minutes and wipe it off. It's pretty magical.
Is there a room in your house that's just yours?
My office. I love my office. It's like this trailer. It's small and contained. There's no hidden area where things can get out of control. I painted it a certain color.
Does this color have a name?
No, it was inspired by colors in Rome. We shot two days of Return to Me there. I came back and said, "I want my walls Mediterranean orange." And I'm not the kind of guy that paints and repaints, but I said, "No, that's not it." I actually had them repaint it a couple of times. I was impressed with myself.
[What do you like to wear to big events?]
Rat Pack style. I like those types of suits. I don't like the ones Mulder wears. I like Cary Grant's in North by Northwest. Those kinds of colors: silver, gray. I like sharkskin. Listen to me now—I'm talking about clothes! I like sharkskin, always did.
It's back in now.
It goes in and out of fashion. But I've always liked it. There's a pimpiness to it that speaks to me.
There seems to be a repressed flashiness in you.
Totally repressed. The first—and last—time I spent a lot of money for clothes was for a Dolce & Gabbana suit I wore to the  Emmys. It was before people were giving me clothes.
Is there anyone whose style you admire?
I love Mick Jagger's kind of girlie-man stuff. Cut-up T-shirt, showing his belly button. Things like that. I have a lot of different influences going on. I like [Jimi] Hendrix's style. I have a couple of velvet suits.
You like velvet suits?
Yep, and velour. I want to feel fun, like I might have a good time. Who knew I had so much to say about fashion?
What about not wearing clothes? Aren't there pictures of you wearing only...
A teacup? Yeah. That was a mistake. I mean, not that there was something wrong with [the pictures]; they're just goofy. I'd rather not have pictures of me with a stupid teacup over my genitals. But I did it.
So, is there going to be another season of The X-Files?
Well, I'm the only thing standing in the way. We've done plenty of shows. Even I don't remember half of them. I'll see them and think, I have no idea where this is going. This is a real potboiler!
Fox Mulder is back—and he’s ready to solve a seriously strange new case. David Duchovny is reprising his role as the FBI agent who specializes in paranormal mysteries in a new six-episode miniseries of The X-Files, which originally aired from 1993 to 2002. In the sci-fi reboot, Duchovny’s conspiracy-theorist character once again teams up with his FBI partner, Dana Scully (played by Gillian Anderson), to figure out who—or what—is behind an alien abduction. (Jan. 24, 10 p.m. ET on FOX)
The X-Files returns for a new season Jan. 24, 2016, at 10 p.m. ET on Fox.