Last year, confronted with the challenge of having to buy a suit, my husbandto- be was at a loss. Suits aren’t exactly the dress code in Israel, thus many locals have little experience with fancy menswear. After several attempts with Israeli and international designers, we stumbled upon the cool, crisp environs of David Sassoon’s Dizengoff Street shop. One hour later, gorgeous black suit in tow, we exited the store relieved and smiling.
Apparently, my husband’s path to Sassoon’s studio is a well-traveled one. With the current casual approach to clothing, Sassoon’s first meeting with many clients takes place in the weeks leading up to their wedding day. While Sassoon basks in this warm niche in the Israeli fashion world, he hopes to one day succeed in shifting Israeli men’s aversion to tailored goods, bringing the suit into daily use.
“Israeli men have a long list of traumas when it comes to fashion,” says the designer.
“They have the sandal trauma.
We are a flip-flop country.
And men have jacket or suit trauma. They think that suits are old because back in the day, suits were made very differently than we make them today. I make suits in a modern way. I trim down the sleeves and make more flattering cuts for men.”
Sassoon is calm, collected and clear. In the local market, he stands alone as the purveyor of red-carpet-worthy looks for men of all ages and physiques.
Though his clothes come in all colors, Sassoon’s own daily wardrobe consists of one color – black.
“I need to keep myself open to all things. I can’t come to work with colors on; it closes my senses,” he explains while seated at his tidy desk.
Sassoon’s designs, for one label or another, have been on the market for more than two decades. Years ago, Sassoon had plans to study law. However, when the time came, he found himself pulled toward the sewing machine, becoming the third generation of tailors in his family.
“In my store, I have my grandmother’s and my mother’s sewing machines,” he points out.
Sassoon’s first design was a men’s shirt with a string closure at the neck.
“I made it in four colors,” he recalls.
An ambitious 23-year old freshly back from a post-army trip to South America, he took the reins as sales manager of a local label. He infused the company with his visions of menswear.
“I made my first real collection for that label seven months after I arrived,” he says.
From there, Sassoon broke off to create Loca, a label inspired by the wild energy of Tel Aviv’s nightlife.
“My first line was all about bright colors and patterns. They were clothes that were hooked into the club scene, which was really thriving at the time,” he explains.
After falling out with his partner, Sassoon closed Loca and reexamined his business goals.
In 1994, he founded the David Sassoon label. This season, his passion for fine tailoring led him to create the Tailor Made line. This micro-label offers handcrafted pieces fit specifically to the customer’s needs. Sassoon has also recently created the Magnify label.
Looking through the exuberant plaids and shocking hues of Magnify, it is not difficult to see the party roots shining through his sleek, sophisticated garments.
The Magnify collection was created to answer the needs of Sassoon’s more adventurous clientele. Boasting vibrant hues and unusual prints, Magnify emanates the funky edge of artists like Mick Jagger. A full accessory line complements the cutting-edge suits and ties of Sassoon’s newest venture.
“In Magnify, I get to really play. I get to tinker with width, cut, colors and lines that I would never do for the David Sassoon label,” he says.
Turn on the television, and you are likely to see bits and pieces of Magnify worn by Israel’s most chic celebrities.
In Sassoon’s eyes, the perfect closet begins with five essential items. “A nice light wool or cotton pair of black chinos, a black or white button-down shirt, a non-sport shoe, a blazer without lining – one that can crumple in and out of any suitcase and still look good – and a non-cargo Bermuda short. That’s my list. With those five items, a man can look put together in any situation,” he asserts.
Of the many winning assets Sassoon has to offer to the market, his perfectionist approach to tailoring is the top. Every single garment sold under either of Sassoon’s labels has been touched, tinkered with or tailored by the designer.
“I need to put my hands on every piece of fabric that comes through here. I’m against sending my designs away to be produced overseas.
They never come back exactly as I plan. So I do things here, in my studio, with my staff. I cut each suit myself,” he explains.
No matter when a garment was purchased, Sassoon will personally attend to alterations and modifications if necessary.
In addition to cutting, sewing and selling impeccably made suits, Sassoon offers workshops on how to wear a suit.
“There is a whole world of etiquette surrounding suits – when to open the jacket, when to close it, how to keep the suit from getting wrinkled in the middle of the day. It’s a big world, and knowing how to deal with clothes is a must.
My aspiration is that we will get to a place where the suit doesn’t threaten the Israeli man. I’d like to see more suits in this country, that’s for sure,” he says. David Sassoon’s clothing can be found at www.davidsassoon.co.il.His store is located at 170 Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv.