Checking in with Designer Asher Levine

We’ve been following the work of NY-based designer Asher Levine for quite some time. Known for his conceptual designs and inventive themes (his SS11 collection was inspired by the biological kingdom), this young talent is anything but predictable. And while we’ve learned to expect the unexpected from Levine, we couldn’t help but do a double-take when we saw artist Bruno Mars perform on Canada’s MuchMuch Music Awards in a surprisingly conventional AL suit. Here, the designer gives us the scoop on this new alliance, as well as the stimulating themes and images behind his latest collection.

How did the Bruno Mars collaboration come along? Stylist Enrique Melendez contacted us and said Bruno Mars and his band wanted to move into the realm of custom menswear. Perfect, I thought. Enrique was in town for the Black Eyed Peas, so I met him at the rehearsal space and we got some coffee in midtown. We went back and forth with ideas and agreed on a direction for Bruno.

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The suits you made for him look more traditional than what we’re used to seeing from you. What inspired this new direction? I thought tailoring is a direction the brand would never turn, but after designing these initial styles, I now realize how important and sensitive the small details are with tailored menswear. For instance, when we were perfecting the collars, a half a millimeter makes an enormous difference. I get obsessed with fetishy details like this, and now I’m in love with these techniques. You’ll be sure to see more tailoring techniques not only on Bruno, but also in my upcoming collections.

What other well-known figures have you dressed this year? This year we’ve done more outfits for the Black Eyed Peas and their tour. We are also working with Jim Steinman as well, the writer behind all of Meatloaf’s hits and other iconic songs.

What can we expect to see at your SS12 presentation in September? There’s this infection people are getting around the city that starts like a cold. But I think there’s more to it. Just on Monday, I was cycling down the West Side Highway and when I got downtown, near the military base, and I saw people getting brought in by a bus and escorted by guys in hazmat suits. It looked just like a movie. I think the infection is connected to that, but I’m not sure.

That all sounds cryptically interesting, and classic Asher. What message do you want to leave your fans with? The infection has begun.

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Shop Asher Levine here.

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