JOYCE met with Adrien Sauvage, a slender 29-year-old founder of A. Sauvage, the next-big-thing in menswear, in his London store. Situated in the elegant Mayfair, amongst contemporary art galleries with the Vogue house being only a stones-throw away, the store is modern on the outside and blends seamlessly with the neighbourhood, but once you walk through the threshold, you find yourself stepping on a mish-mash of patterned rugs, shoes hanging on the overhead cables and the sales assistant sitting inside a cashier “hut” with beautifully tailored clothes hanging along the rails. Sauvage explained;
“ I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as a ‘Savile Row’ tailor and I love this area but want to show my character, so I got materials from scrapyard and built a ‘Ghana’, which is my hometown, inside the store.”
And he doesn’t want to be “pigeon-holed” as a fashion designer either.
“I’m a designer, but not just in fashion, I’m a photographer, film director, a designer of things on my mind.”
He is not being boastful. Sauvage established the brand in 2010 and created a short film called “This Is Not A Suit” which he directed and performed in. The black and white short story introduces himself and his “Dress Easy” or “D.E.” philosophy. It received positive reviews and was nominated for official selection into the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
“ I don’t want to create a fashion film of slow motion, wind blowing on model’s hair kind of ‘cheeseballs’. I want to introduce a lifestyle. How men get ready for a night out, how to have fun and dance in a suit.”
So how does he apply the “Dress Easy” philosophy in a smart, tailored suit?
“It’s about comfort and ease. Why bother with extra creases? Why worry about whether the shoes match with the belt? It’s all too excessive. Instead, I make shirts that don’t need cufflinks; I add fasteners on both sides of the waist to adjust the waistline. Find the right formula and you can look good with less work!”
Every man can find a wardrobe staple from the spring summer collection, from an elegant dark evening suit, to a casual bomber jacket with hoodie and shorts. They come in a subtle palette of black and white, pewter, mustard and earth tone colours, with an injection of fun patterns. Sauvage elaborates his design philosophy;
“Modern men are scared of being too ‘dandy’, the whole old-school suiting package can be a bit much. I display the clothes in the store according to what I want to wear. For example, I recently like wearing bomber jackets so I put them on the shop floor. I introduce the pieces bit by bit and when I feel it’s relevant.”
Although a new comer to the menswear game, A. Sauvage has already garnered a strong following, he jokes;
“ My clientele includes musicians, artists as well as African dictators and the likes of Justin Bieber and Jude Law.”
Sauvage is surely not afraid to speak his mind and what a humorous charmer. It is no surprise that with his multi- talents and quirky personality, he found his own niche with no difficulty. He first dabbled in fashion working as a stylist for an affluent art patron and eventually her husband because “she’s dressed in haute couture but he’s dressed like sh*t.” He then decided to design his own collection and immediately received support from the likes of Harrods and JOYCE. His designs became increasingly popular that he had to launch “a menswear collection for women” to please the female customers who have a penchant for suits. Women can now also experience the “D.E.” philosophy in suits with structured shoulders, longer proportions but keeping the traditional women’s details such as the position of the buttons.
This is an impressive portfolio for a young designer like him but he has more projects in mind.
“I live very much in the now but I would like to do a photo shoot of natives in Hong Kong because Asia and Africa have a lot going on and connections in terms of investment. I would like to bring my knowledge and experience from London, combine with my roots in Africa and work something on Asian.”
We look forward to seeing him work his magic in Hong Kong and he replies,
Interview by Lucienne Leung-Davies
Portraits and shop photos by Anders Brogaard
Look book images and film stills courtesy of A.Sauvage