You can put a girl in a cheap dress and she'll still look good, but you can't cheat with menswear.

- Ilaria Urbinati
of LA's Confederacy

Behind the Seams:

New Suits

Never before have suits been considered so cool. So who better than a rock star to release a line of suiting slick enough for the stage, yet timeless enough for dinner with the in-laws. The Strokes' Albert Hammond Jr.'s line has just landed at LA's Confederacy. We caught up with the shop's owner, stylist Ilaria Urbinati, who co-designed the range with Hammond. While not your typical 9-5 duds, the suits certainly have a classic, rakish charm. But we'll let Urbinati tell you about them in her own words.

How it Began

I style so many guys that I'm around menswear all day, so when we first opened Confederacy I told Danny [Masterson, her business partner in the store], I wanted to design a private men's label of suits. I was sitting in a movie theater in New York, talking to Danny who was in LA. He said, "Well I know Albert's been wanting to do a line too, he's the suit king, you guys should do it together. Let me call him." Five minutes later I got a text from Albert and it was a done deal. Nothing is ever complicated with Danny involved.

The Design Process

 Albert and I both have insanely crazy schedules, so it was not a fast process. Although I think the actual overall designing between us must've taken all of 10 days total. We'd meet at his apartment and start going over ideas—what we like and don't like in suiting. There were a lot of suits Albert had dreamed of, like he'd say "What about a burgundy suit?" or "I've always wanted a suit with this kind of detail."

 There was this old tweed blazer Albert and I found shopping at a flea market in Los Angeles ages ago—before we had ever discussed doing a line, that was the inspiration for some of the jackets. Albert had this amazing vintage suit with this crazy oversized flap ticket pocket. That ended up on a lot of our suits.

We focused a lot on fit. It's slightly shrunken and slim—very Albert. His sleeve is always purposely a tad short. And we wanted tiny details like the suede trims to give a bit of an old hunting jacket vibe, along with the center back pleat and the hanging back belt.

  • The suits are made by Brooklyn's famed Martin Greenfield, suitmaker for Band of Outsiders.
What Makes a Good Suit

 For starters, the fabric has to be somewhat rich. You can put a girl in a cheap dress from Forever 21 and she can still look good, but you can't cheat with menswear. It's all about fabric and the right fit. Color is important too—I'll often get these great tailored suits, but they're always grey, black or navy. So we did a gorgeous deep hunter green with the suede trim and a grey riviera wool herringbone three-piece.

 My favorite is a blue houndstooth Australian merino wool. It's a subtle blue, but I love that it's not navy. Albert's favorite is the burghundy, although he'd been jonesing for a cream suit for a long time, so he loves that one too. We do have a black one but its the most gorgeous gaberdine and is not exactly basic. The vest alone is pretty unusual, its double breatsed and little short and square.

For Albert, it was all about those details he couldn't get anywhere else. It's hard to find a suit that is classic enough to have forever, but that doesn't make you look like a Sunday parade. It's not about trying to get attention. It's about subtlety without being boring.

$1,250 to $2,400, at Confederacy, 4661 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles