Alan Flusser

Alan Flusser, Custom Suits & The Shop

Today, I visited the Alan Flusser Custom Shop to meet the shop’s influential owner. Alan Flusser is probably one of America’s best known authors of books on men’s fashion and style – two of which made it on the Gentleman’s Gazette must have book list.

Alan Flusser Custom Shop

Alan Flusser Custom Shop

From the outside, Flusser’s eponymous store at 3 East 48th Street is easily overlooked, as it is situated on the 3rd floor. However, once you’ve found your way to the elevator, you soon enter the quaint world of Alan Flusser. The welcoming lounge area is filled with models, fashion illustrations, ties, and as of late, even handmade silk umbrellas of Neapolitan provenance. A step to the right, the custom shop houses a full selection of jackets, suits and tailoring tools. On the opposite end, Alan’s office and fitting rooms fill the space.

Alan Flusser at His Office

Alan Flusser at His Office

For years, Mr. Flusser operated his store together with Mark Rykken; after his recent departure to Paul Stuart, there have been a number of changes. Now, 28-year-old Sean Goldsmith is a part owner of the business, and together with his brother Cary, clothing veteran Peter, and consultant Myles Kusaba, the new team aspires to shake things up in pursuit of younger customers.

A Little Color

A Little Color

Of course, Flusser is still designing all the suits and over weekends, he works a side project – his greatest book deal to date – the official biography of his friend Ralph Lauren. As you can imagine, Alan has interviewed more than 100 people for this project, a time consuming effort to say the least. How long it will take to finish the book remains unclear, though I am certain I will read it when it finally arrives.

A Stylish Tailoring Apprentice

A Stylish Tailoring Apprentice

During my conversation with the Maestro,we our discussion ranged from book sales (350,000 total for all of his books) and formal dress to the importance of a proper evening waistcoat to the influence of fashion illustrations on the industry.

Private Label Shoes

Private Label Shoes

Inside the Custom Shop

Inside the Custom Shop

While his collection included several from Apparel Arts, Adam, and Monsieur, given my heritage and personal collection I remarked on the lack of illustrations from the German publication Herrenjournal.

Alan later confessed that he had never heard of neither this publication nor its founder Baron von Eelking. He also elaborated a bit on his view of Italian clothing and the concept of elegance. While Naples seems to be quite in vogue with American gents, Flusser prefers the Roman Caraceni suit silhouette, even over the Milanese styles. However, when it comes to formal dress, Alan’s views are strictly British.

We also discussed bespoke tailors and designers and the limitations. Flusser – a designer himself – emphasized that tailors are often very skilled when it comes to technical aspects of tailoring but they are mostly unable to guide the customer and create a suit or outfit that makes him comfortable and look his best. Hence, Flusser concluded, a well styled Ready-To-Wear garment that fits, is generally better in terms of taste an elegance than a fully tailored suit. Obviously, one could argue that he is biased in his view but I would agree with him in the sense that I have met many tailors who were outstanding craftsmen but not men of taste. Also, these tailors often rely on their customers to specify the style details. While is a dream for educated, experienced bespoke aficionados. Many bespoke novices will be simply overwhelmed by the different choices and hence their initial custom experiences are often not great.

I am sure we could have talked for hours, but he had to catch his train to the Hamptons – it is summer in New York – where he spends half of each week.

Overall, we had a pleasant conversation and I was pleased to meet him. I was surprised to lear

Peter, Myles & Sean

Peter, Myles & Sean

n he was already 67, though I would easily have placed him at 10 years younger. So, what would you have asked the great Alan Flusser?

 

9 replies
  1. No One
    No One says:

    So, what would you have asked the great Alan Flusser?

    I would have asked him; where did his taste go?

      • No One
        No One says:

        Alan used to look fantastic, now his wardrobe makes no sense. It is one thing to break rules, even those you preach, after all this is fashion at the end of the day; but Alan seems lost and trying to get attention of young people which he seems to have done with these two brothers. As mentioned in the article, it is not the first time Alan has tried to trick people into investing in him, Saks department stores at one time owned his custom business I believe.

  2. DANIEL RUFFO
    DANIEL RUFFO says:

    I always find it amazing when these gentlemen who are icons in the world of style seem to forget that having a great haircut or either a trim beard and / or mustache or a clean shave is as much a part of looking good if even not more than wearing bespoke clothing.
    In my opinion Mr. Flusser does himself a great injustice looking like he needs a haircut.
    Bespoke clothing along with a great tailor can hide a lot of short comings but they cannot hide everything.
    Think of any of the actors who have played James Bond, they have all been described as the essence of “Great” style. If any of them had a hair style like mr. Flusser has do you think they would be held in such high esteem in the men’s fashion world thru the years !

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