ONE MAN’S STYLE

Inside the wardrobe of Black Atlass, the ro­man­tic rev­e­la­tion of the year.

VOGUE Hommes International (English) - - CONTENTS - By CA­ROLE SABAS Photographs MATTHEW KRISTALL

—Alex Flem­ing, 20, a Cana­dian from On­tario, is the lat­est in a line of sparkling new tal­ent on the elec­tro–R#&#B scene that be­gan with Frank Ocean and The Weeknd. Mul­ti­track artist and soul­ful crooner, he has cor­nered the mar­ket in hip–hop per­cus­sion, hyp­notic loops and lyrics in­spired by love and the sin­gle guy. He grew up on a mu­si­cal diet of vin­tage and con­tem­po­rary ex­per­i­men­tal sounds, cour­tesy of his fa­ther’s record col­lec­tion ($Lou Reed, Prince, Ra­dio­head and the likes$), but mined his raw ma­te­rial from his own play­ing ($pi­ano, gui­tar, per­cus­sion$) be­fore plung­ing into the fuzzy world of fil­ters and sam­ples. His self–pro­duced de­but EP, Black Atlass, was fol­lowed in Fe­bru­ary by Young Bloods, this time on cult Brook­lyn la­bel, Fool’s Gold. The lead­ing names in lux­ury menswear in­stantly fell in love with his an­gel face. His new friend, Kris van Ass­che, cre­ative di­rec­tor at Dior Homme, sat him front–row at his SS14 show. His sin­gle, “Paris”, be­came the score for a Louis Vuit­ton video, then the sound­track to Yves Saint Lau­rent’s fra­grance, L’Homme. His al­ready fast–grow­ing rep­u­ta­tion took on a new di­men­sion at the Dover Street Mar­ket in New York. I read Vogue Hommes, Fan­tas­tic Man and Port. And now I’m lucky enough to be in­vited to run­way shows. I won’t for­get sit­ting op­po­site Karl Lager­feld at the Dior Homme show any time soon.” Could he imag­ine him­self us­ing a stylist? “Very prob­a­bly,” he says, but not for a com­plete makeover. “Just to in­tro­duce me to new brands and sug­gest some key pieces.”

Kanye West is his big­gest in­fluICONS ence, as a mul­ti­ple artist and for his sense of style. Wood­kid is some­one else he looks up to, for his ver­sa­til­ity and his in­flu­ence on the Paris fash­ion scene. Phar­rell Wil­liams is another. His two fe­male icons are Lana Del Rey and Ri­hanna: “No– one mixes mu­sic and per­sonal style bet­ter than they do.” He cites Ryan Gosling and Johnny Depp for their age­less el­e­gance. And Mar­lon Brando ($“That goes with­out say­ing”$). after a re­cent tour open­ing for Wood­kid. This au­tumn he’s back on the road in Europe, this time solo. In the flesh, Alex is a de­tached young man who chews gum and is spar­ing with words. He is, how­ever, happy to talk about style.

Fash­ion mat­ters: “Of course it’s a FRONT ROW form of self–ex­pres­sion for any artist to­day. I was lucky enough to be in­tro­duced to fash­ion early on by my great–great–aunt who was a buyer for Ogilvy’s, a big Cana­dian depart­ment store. She lived to be 98 and had time to teach me about qual­ity, lux­ury, ma­te­ri­als. I’ve learned to view brands with her sense of style. She also prob­a­bly in­flu­enced my sis­ter Megan, who at 15 and almost 6 feet tall is tak­ing her first steps with a mod­el­ling agency in Toronto.” How does he stay abreast of trends? “I love shop­ping. Only yes­ter­day I was

His every­day ba­sics. He likes them ripped,

JEANS washed and light blue, almost bleached (!“Never dark, or else prop­erly black”!). He gets them from Levi’s, APC, H"&"M or the lo­cal vin­tage store. “So long as they’re fit­ted, com­fort­able, and look re­ally, re­ally worn.” He pairs them with lum­ber­jack, denim or white shirts which he picks up, more or less ran­domly, at H"&"M, Uniqlo, Value Vil­lage or the Amer­i­can Sal­va­tion Army.

Long, white and al­ways with

T– SHIRTS added in­ter­est, such as a breast pocket, fancy sleeves or a raw hem. Oth­er­wise “I un­pick the stitch­ing my­self, or cut a deeper neck­line. I like mak­ing lit­tle holes here and there, or rolling the sleeve bot­toms.” His favourite brand? “Errr!… Amer­i­can Ap­parel?”

Al­ways. He finds they turn an or­di­nary

JACK­ETS out­fit into some­thing far more classy, and that in the style depart­ment, ac­tors have the edge over mu­si­cians. “Look at Johnny Depp. He al­ways has the per­fect jacket.” Bomber jack­ets are his favourite, par­tic­u­larly by Dior Homme: “Mag­nif­i­cent, like all their leather.” He pays at­ten­tion to tex­ture, the qual­ity of the cloth, colour and, for his vin­tage jack­ets, how well the denim has worn. In win­ter he wraps up in “clas­sic” long jack­ets. So far he’s bought them as and when they’ve come along, but now wants to invest in a qual­ity piece for win­ter. Prob­a­bly London Fog or Burberry.

Vans, Con­verse, Common Projects

FOOTWEAR for train­ers. In sum­mer, ba­sic cream–coloured es­padrilles. And for a big night out, Dior Homme.

He takes care of his skin, though

GROOM­ING for the minute he’s stick­ing to Vase­line Men mois­turiser from the lo­cal drug­store, “with great–smelling coco but­ter.” Sooner or later he in­tends check­ing out the high–end brands for a bet­ter–qual­ity equiv­a­lent, pos­si­bly Kiehl’s or Ae­sop for their “all–nat­u­ral” ap­proach.

“So long as

they’re

fit­ted, com­fort­able,

and look re­ally,

re­ally worn.”

From the time he was a teenager, he’s

HAIR greased his hair with Dove Men gel, some­thing so sec­ond na­ture he looks puz­zled when asked where the retro vibe comes from. This par­tic­u­lar morn­ing he’s sport­ing a new

MON­TREAL shaved–sides look by his friend Ja­son Kre­jberg at Hel­met Salon in Mon­treal (!163 Mont Royal, sa­lon­hel­met.ca!) . He po­litely asks us to namecheck another of his favourite cut­ters, Dan, at Blue Dog Bar­ber­shop ( ! 3858 Boule­vard

Saint–Lau­rent, bd­bar­ber­shop.resurva.com!) . His eyes light up as he

FRA­GRANCE lists the bot­tles on his bath­room shelf: Amaz­in­green by Comme des Garçons, 1 Mil­lion by Paco Ra­banne, To­bacco Va- Jac­ques!) nille by Tom Ford!… “If I’m in New York and have a few hours of shop­ping ahead of me, I head straight for Comme des com!) Garçons to buy a new eau de toi­lette.”

No watches and no gold.

JEW­ELLERY Sil­ver is his thing. He con­sid­ers the few items of jew­ellery he does own as lucky charms, to be worn ev­ery day: two rings, bought at Ibiki and Savoie Fils, a bracelet that was a gift and another in Swarovski crys­tal. Usu­ally he wears a medal­lion on a chain, but is cur­rently look­ing for a new one. “I’m re­ally fussy about the thick­ness of the chain. I want one like Ryan Gosling’s. He knows his chains.” Friends have told him a small di­a­mond stud would look good in his ear. He’s think­ing about it.

Just a year ago he moved from London, On­tario, the city he grew up in, to the Plateau, a hip stu­dent neigh­bour­hood close to down­town Mon­treal. “There’s a real buzz. Ev­ery­one’s in­ter­ested in what­ever projects other artists have go­ing on, it’s in­spir­ing.” He loves to get away on long walks in the sur­round­ing hills, or for a week­end on one of the nearby ranches. We ask him about the best places to go. He ri­postes with the ad­dress of his favourite restau­rant, Nora Grey, an up­mar­ket Ital­ian (!1391 rue Saint–

. For clothes, he rec­om­mends Ssense for high–end brands such as Givenchy, Alexan­der Wang or Rick Owens (!90 rue Saint Paul Ouest, ssense.

, Ibiki for more edgy de­sign­ers like Comme des Garçons and Common Projects, and for “good ca­su­al­wear” (!4357 Saint–Lau­rent, ibiki.com!) ,

and Savoie Fils (!251 rue Saint–Vi­a­teur, savoiefils.com!) “for in­ter­est­ing ac­ces­sories and clas­sic out­door gear. Plus they have a re­ally nice café, run by a friend.” For streetwear he sends us to Off The Hook (!1021 Ste– Cather­ine Ouest, offthe­hook.ca!) .

Some­thing that will keep him

IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGN busy one day, along­side mu­sic. Al­ready he’s in­fat­u­ated with can­dles, jew­ellery boxes, huge mir­rors and cof­fee–ta­ble books. He likes the clash of con­tem­po­rary and clas­sic, “old wood next to ul­tra–mod­ern fur­ni­ture”. Another quirk: “I frame ev­ery­thing. Pho­tos I take, friends’ draw­ings, ev­ery­thing.”

He has plans to get his hands on a mo

WHEELS tor­cy­cle from Deus Ex Machina, an Aus­tralian brand spe­cial­is­ing in cus­tom–built vin­tage repli­cas (!deuscus­toms.com!) . “They only have one store in Los An­ge­les. That’ll be my ex­cuse to ride it across the US, back to Mon­treal.” He also has a weak­ness for Amer­i­can mus­cle cars, ded­i­cat­ing pho­tos of them on In­sta­gram “to my 70–year–old self”.

He’s ad­dicted to In­sta­gram where

SPARE TIME fans can see him in ac­tion (! @* Black­At­lass!) in other ar­eas, pho­tog­ra­phy in par­tic­u­lar. He owns two cam­eras: a Yashica MG–2 and an Olym­pus re­flex for film. He uses his smart­phone to take notes, but con­signs all his thoughts and lyrics to pa­per in Ogami note­books, an Ital­ian pre­mium brand whose ul­tra–white, wa­ter­proof pa­per is made from stone (!ogam­i­col­lec­tion.com!) . He unashamedly owns up to nights in watch­ing rom–coms on TV, such as Crazy,

Stupid, Love or The Change–Up. He’s al­ready hinted that he’d hap­pily be the face of a lux­ury brand, but would he con­sider an act­ing ca­reer along­side mu­sic? “Def­i­nitely an av­enue to ex­plore, yes.”

VH

Wool sweater and denim jeans Dior Homme

T– shirt and denim

jeans Acne

“Jade” ta­tooed inside

his arm means “peace, bal­ance, power,

love” in Chi­nese. The rose is a nod to his mother, Rosie. The first

in a long se­ries …

Be­low : Bomber jacket

and jeans AMI Alexan­dre

Mat­tiussi

Left : Wool and silk din­ner jacket Dior Homme Cot­ton T– shirt Amer­i­can Ap­parel Denim jeans

Levi’s

Right : his favourite bracelets and rings — only ever in sil­ver.

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