“I started the Alan Flusser custom tailor shop 30 years ago, in 1985.
Shortly thereafter, the people who made WALL STREET asked me to help them with the movie’s wardrobe. The film became a phenomenon and subsequently everybody wanted to dress like MICHAEL DOUGLAS. That gave a real jolt to my business, which grew to two locations in New York City, on 52nd Street and on Wall Street, and one in Washington, D.C.
At the time, I was making clothes for PHIL MILLER, then the chairman & CEO of SAKS FIFTH AVENUE, who proposed I move into the department store’s New York City flagship — I did and remained there for almost a decade before relocating to my current space on East 48th Street.
I’ve always decorated the custom shop like a residence. It’s a bit hodgepodge and rather eclectic. But if people are comfortable wearing my clothes here, they’ll be comfortable wearing them almost anywhere.”
“The illustration of me was done by RICHARD MERKIN, a lifelong friend who died about three years ago.
He taught painting at RHODE ISALND SCOOL OF DESIGN for decades before I introduced him to former GQ editor ART COOPER, who published Richard’s ‘MERKIN ON STYLE’ column in the magazine.”
“GOSTA ‘GUS’ PETERSON gave me this photo he took of RICHARD [Merkin], who I first met in front of BROOKS BROTHERS on Madison Avenue in the ‘70s. He was one of the really great dandies, and introduced me to TOM WOLFE. When Richard got married, Tom and I hosted his wedding party, and I remember nobody there was remotely interested in what the women had on — it was all about what the men wore.”
“I designed the mannequins years ago for the Saks shop, and took them with me when I left. They have an old-world, ‘30s-era feel that you don’t see every day.”
“This is a blown up illustration from my third book, STYLE AND THE MAN, which is all about how to buy men’s clothes, the way they should fit, where to shop around the world, and other topics of that sort.
I’ve written four books, and am currently writing a fifth:
an authorized biography of RALPH LAUREN, who I’ve known since 1976.”
“Last fall, my daughter asked me to make her a jacket, and while I was doing so, I realized our head tailor is an incredible women’s pattern maker.
Women’s bespoke clothing is now a new endeavor here, and this is the coat that started it all.”
“This photo is of the English actor David Niven, another incredibly stylish guy.
I met him at one of my favorite places, THE CONNAUGHT HOTEL, in London. I was signing a bill, looked up, and all of a sudden he was standing next to me.”
“Back there is where most everything gets made. The way we work is very old-fashioned, not unlike how English tailors do. There are probably no more than two or three custom tailors in the entire United States who make clothes this way.”
Photography byBramble Trionfo
As told toAnthony Rotunno
Alan Flusser is the founder and proprietor of the Alan Flusser custom shop in
New York City.