‘I hate over-grooming – as far as I’m concerned, men should look like men’
Elusive. Original. Eccentric. These are the most common adjectives found used to describe the designer behind the eponymous label A.Sauvage. Starting in 2010, the definitive aesthetic and signature silohuette behind his suits were instantly received by the fashion world, and as they say, the rest is history. But Sauvage himself is something of an enigma. So when The Grooming Guide got talking to the man of mystery, we took up the opportunity to find out exactly what makes him tick…
Do you let a barber take creative control of your hair/beard, or do you prefer DIY? Has that always been the case?
I’m DIY all the way, from design to personal maintenance. I haven’t been to a barber in years… I guess perhaps I’m a bit of a control freak.
Do you trust hair products specifically aimed for Afro hair or not? If so, which ones?
Totally, but unfortunately they’re difficult to locate in Mayfair. White hair products don’t work on Afro hair and they’re never going to… I’m still waiting for my ‘Herbal Essences moment’ but I suspect it’s going to be a long time coming.
Where do you draw the line between ‘looking after yourself’ and over-grooming?
I hate over-grooming – as far as I’m concerned, men should look like men. When my girlfriend starts staring at me, I know I’ve gone too far.
Are there any style trends right now out there, that make you think ‘I want nothing to do with that’?
Sneaker heels, though I obviously don’t wear a lot of other heels.
Do you take baths? If so, should more guys admit to doing so? What do you use?
I bath everyday using lavender oil – Liberty sell a really good one. There’s nothing wrong with guys taking baths, I don’t know why anyone would be embarrassed about it.
Name 5 products that have been in your wash-bag for over 5 years?
Kiehl’s gave me a complimentary wash-bag a while ago and I’ve been buying their products ever since. I don’t go looking for products but once they become part of my routine, I’d rather repeat purchase than shop around – I think it’s the same for most guys. My wash-bag contains Kiehl’s ‘Ultimate Man’ Body Scrub Soap, Crème de Corps, Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub, Kieh’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser and Kyoku Oil Control Lotion. A friend introduced me to the moisturizer.
Who are your most unlikely style icons, living or dead?
YSL, Andy Warhol, Le Corbusier and Magritte.
Your first campaign, ‘Natives’, features Venice Beach skaters and LA locals . And then the second part of the campaign was ‘Captains’ shot in London featuring local heroes and celebrities from the scene here. Where do you take your inspiration from lately?
Design inspiration is always drawn from my native country Ghana, an influence that runs from print and pattern to cloth, production methods and pattern cut. For my next photography project, however, I’m looking to Hong Kong as I think the visual juxtaposition of Asia and Africa will be extremely interesting.
This Is Not A Suit film being shortlisted for the Sundance Film Festival was another campaign of yours that made waves, casting The Designer as something of a scientist. How would you apply your ‘Dress Easy’ principle to men’s grooming?
D.E. means minimum effort for maximum results, the simplest course of action, comfort and versatility. If something doesn’t come naturally or work for your lifestyle, you shouldn’t be doing it… The ethos pervades all areas of my life so my grooming routine doesn’t have ten steps requiring twenty products,… it’s quick, easy, enjoyable and effective.
You chose Mos Def/Yassin Bey for your Spring 2012 campaign. Who’s your pick for best-groomed man on the planet?
I spend a lot of time looking at men’s clothes and men wearing clothes but I don’t look at men that closely.
Finally, do you have a signature fragrance?
I actually have two: Dior Ambre Nuit and Dior Oud Ispahan. I like to keep your nose on its toes.
1. Rene Magritte
2. Dr Martens 1460s £100 www.drmartens.co.uk
3. Kiehl's Creme De Corps £16 for 125ml http://www.kiehls.co.uk
4. Liberty London Lavender and Eucalyptus Gift Box http://www.liberty.co.uk
5. Dior Oud Isaphan http://www.dior.co.uk
6. A.Sauvage Matumbo Shawl jacket http://www.asauvage.com
7. Christian Dior Ambre Nuit http://www.dior.co.uk
8. A. Sauvage Bomber Jacket