The Power of the Perfect Suit
By Roxy Manning
Photography by Giuliano Bekor
“Putting on a suit in the morning is my ritual,” says Jason Heyman. “It gets me focused.” In his role at CAA—where he manages top talent including Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis and Vince Vaughn—Heyman looks to the Italian label Isaia for suits that easily take him from movie premieres to client dinners to set visits in the course of a day.
But even in his high-powered setting, this married father of three reveals an adventurous fashion sense. While his fellow agents sport dark blue suits with white shirts, Heyman mixes it up with gingham shirts and—on occasion—a seersucker suit, his latest dapper purchase. The agent was first introduced to Isaia by a celebrity client who gifted him with a beautiful suit from the label for Christmas a few years ago. It was a tiny detail—the unusual design element of four functioning buttons on the sleeves—that caught his eye. “I had never had a suit with that feature before,” he says. “It was a way to express individuality.”
Unique buttons are just one facet that distinguishes the 54-year-old Italian label from the masses. According to CEO Gianluca Isaia, the heart and soul of the company are its employees, including four master tailors who painstakingly create each garment. “It looks like the tailors are holding a baby when they touch the suit,” says Isaia, who finds inspiration in his travels. He uses the finest fabrics from Italy, England and Scotland—such as Aquaspider, Aquacashmere and Aquachino—which are treated at the fiber level in a special mill to be “not only water-resistant, but also stain-resistant and so soft and luxurious.”
Traditional Neapolitan styling is evident throughout the suits in, for example, “the shape of the breast pocket, which symbolizes the wooden boats people from Naples use to go fishing.” Even the logo refers to coastal living: It is a little piece of coral embroidered under the jacket collar, which, according to mythology, is also a sign of good luck. But of all the contemporary details in Isaia suits, the founder says cut is most important of all. “I want a man to feel like he is wearing his second skin.”
Suit, Isaia ($2,850). Neiman Marcus, 9700 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-550-5900. Dress shirt, Ermenegildo Zegna ($325). 301 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-247-8827. Tie, Hugo Boss ($95). 414 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-859-2888. Silk pocket square, Ermenegildo Zegna ($95). SEE ABOVE. Shoes, Heyman’s own
Occupation: Copresident of Marvel Studios
Suit: David August
It makes the tailoring process much more fun when your personal suit designer is also a close friend. Such is the case with Louis D’Esposito, copresident of Marvel Studios since 2009, and David Heil, founder, CEO and lead designer of OC’s custom-fashion house David August. “Everybody who knows Louis loves the guy; he’s so incredibly genuine,” says Heil of the powerful movie studio head. Of wearing David August suits, dress pants, button-down shirts and sports coats exclusively, D’Esposito says, “I feel confident I am going to make a good first impression.”
With The Avengers, Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 currently in production and development, D’Esposito’s job gives him a schedule only a superhero could maintain. Luckily, Heil meets him almost anywhere—his office, home or on set. While filming The Pursuit of Happyness, Iron Man and Iron Man 2, D’Esposito’s bespoke deliveries caught the attention of Will Smith and Robert Downey Jr., who are now repeat customers. D’Esposito even introduced Heil to the costume designer on Iron Man 2, and they decided Heil should make David August suits for Dow ney to wear in the movie.
For six years D’Esposito has been loyal to the David August Couture line, which boasts suits crafted—start to finish—over four to six weeks. D’Esposito’s suits have his name embroidered inside and each suit is coordinated with David August hand-tailored shirts, ties and pocket squares, as well as matching shoes and belts.
The custom process begins with a thorough interview followed by 35 to 40 measurements to ensure the clothes will have “curb appeal” for each individual client. Next come the fittings, after which garments are fine-tuned and any adjustments are updated to the individual’s final pattern. “When I design suits, I start from the shoulders down,” says Heil. “If the shoulder isn’t balanced, the suit won’t drape correctly. If your $5,000 suit isn’t balanced, it’s going to look like a $200 suit.”
David August suits are made of wool, silk, mohair and cashmere fabrics from Italy, England, Belgium, Spain and France that start at super-120 grade (the higher the grade, the finer the fabric) and go up from there. Says Heil, “I want my customer to have the reputation for being the best-dressed man in town.”
Full look, D’Esposito’s own
styling by miriam sternoff for exclusive artists management; grooming by erica sauer at exclusive artists management
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.