Despite fevered social media speculation to the contrary, the green velvet tuxedo that Ben Haggerty (the Macklemore half of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis) recently wore to the 56th Grammy Awards did not come from a thrift shop -- it was custom-made for the musician by fashion designer Logan Neitzel.
Ever since the Grammy telecast we've been on the hunt to get the details about the eye-catching threads since it was one of our favorite classy but just-different-enough looks of the whole night. Monday we finally had a chance to chat with the New York-based Neitzel (a Season 6 alumnus of "Project Runway") by phone about it.
Let's start with the color. On my television set it looked teal green, some people were referring to it as emerald green.
The color was a deep emerald green and the fabric was cotton velvet. The [shawl collar] lapel and tuxedo [trouser] stripe were silk satin. So were the buttons. We kept it very minimal.
Since this was custom-made, what was the starting point? Did he ask for something specific?
When I work with Ben it’s always a back and forth. Typically color for him is the main focus, so he'll come to me with a few different color options and then it's whatever I can come up with and source and make a decision on. And this time that coloration was his go-to -- he really wanted it.
In doing some research I found some recent photos of him in a mint green suit. Did you make that one too?
The mint green one was for the VMAs;, I did a royal blue one for the MTV Movie Awards and a bright red one for "Saturday Night Live" a while ago. It’s part of his personality [and it's] built in to the way I do the clothing; adding a little bit of color but not so in-your-face. So it still has a sense of sophistication to it.
So it sounds like you've been making clothes for him for a while. How long have you worked with him?
I lived in Seattle for 7 1/2 years but didn't know Ben when I was there. The connection came through a mutual friend of ours years ago. Basically he was coming out here [to New York City] and needed some help with styling because he was being shot for a magazine -- this was before the current album. I've been helping since then, and it's just kind of snowballed.
So you style him as well?
Yes, I style him as well.
Then you have to share the details about the outfit he wore while performing "Same Love." Was that by you?
The [velvet] jacket was by Suitsupply -- it was kind of a charcoal gray -- I don't know how that translated on TV -- the pants were custom-made Jil Sander and [he was wearing] a Saint Laurent loafer.
And why a bolo necktie?
Again, that was about playing with personality a little bit and doing something that was kind of unexpected. And it just seemed appropriate.
What have you been doing post-"Project Runway" -- besides dressing one of the most high-profile musicians around?
I’ve been living in New York about 4 1/2 years now – from about the time my season was airing. We do a lot of custom [work] for a lot of different stylists and celebrities as well as produce a full line of men's and women's clothes every six months.
Has working with Macklemore generated more interest in your ready-to-wear collections?
What I do for Ben and Ryan is kind of specific for them. The actual collection is more leather-based, a darker type of aesthetic. We also did some pieces for Trent Reznor for the Grammys, and those pieces looked more like the overall direction [of my line]. But, yes, people are so interested in everything Ben's doing, and I've been fortunate to work on some of the bigger events and shows he's done.
What's next for you?
We're in the process of relaunching our website with a full online store; we're currently rebranding and getting ready to launch a sub line at the high-end contemporary price point -- a little below full fashion -- and we'll be launching that in about two weeks.
Which sounds like pretty good timing to us -- especially if there happens to be a deep emerald green velvet tuxedo in the mix.
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