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“You get dressed so you can feel a certain way, so you can attract certain kind of attention,” says rocker Albert Hammond Jr. And as a member of The Strokes and a solo musician, Hammond Jr. has never had trouble stealing the style spotlight.
From his onetime signature mop of curls (though he now sports a closely shorn look) to his love of three-piece suits, the guitarist and keyboardist is never one to shy away from a sartorial statement. On tour since last fall to promote his third solo album, Momentary Masters (Vagrant), Hammond Jr.’s style evolution continues.
“I have a red jumpsuit, and that started it,” says Hammond Jr. of his onstage look as of late, which revolves around a red, white and black color palette (he’s also sporting a white tee on his album cover, natch). Ahead of taking the stage on Saturday as part of the three-day Governors Ball music festival on New York’s Randall’s Island, Hammond opens up on his trademark pieces and why he likes to throw expensive suits in the washing machine.
Pret-a-Reporter: When did your appreciation of fashion begin?
Albert Hammond Jr.: I feel like it was when I became conscious of music, and girls, and what I wanted, and the people I wanted to be around. It’s one less thing to say if you dress a certain way. You don’t need to tell someone what you do or who you are. You will bring people to you depending on how you look. It was a subtle thing. It wasn’t like I spent my entire day doing it.
Any particular brands or pieces you’re typically drawn to?
My day-to-day is a lot of Rag & Bone. I like their jeans and their shirts. Doc Martens, Converse and the occasional jacket from a thrift store. My wife had bought me these Armani Exchange T-shirts, and I refused to wear them. But then I put one on; it was so soft and nice. It fit so well, and it accentuated the gym efforts, and I was like, “All right, fine. You guys win this time.” And then I got one in every color, and I love it. I can’t stop wearing them.
Tell us about your signature red jumpsuit.
It’s a workman store thing. It was like $20, and then I just went and got it tailored. It’s pretty funny because everyone asks, where’d you find that? They sell it at workingperson.com.
SUITED UP: Hammond Jr. in a Tom Ford vest and trousers, Armani Exchange T-shirt and Rolex watch (Photo: Amy Dickerson for Pret-a-Reporter)
And what about the Tom Ford suit you wore for this shoot?
Funnily enough, I almost was going to get rid of it. But once I washed it, it took away a bit of its sheen, and then it became just right. I don’t know what it was — it just kind of made it a little disheveled. And then I realized, “Shit, I should just buy expensive suits and then put them in the washing machine, and they’ll be perfect.”
What are some of the key elements in your outfits?
I love details. I don’t like when my pants break, and I always like socks. I like stuff to fit a certain way.
HAPPY FEET: Hammond Jr. in Uniqlo socks and Dr. Martens shoes (Photo: Amy Dickerson for Pret-a-Reporter)
Who tailors your pieces?
Her name is Jean Kormos; she’s called Ghost Tailor. She’s in New York in the Fashion District. That’s who does all my stuff when I want it to be right. She’s amazing.
Do you have a style icon?
When I first started, it was John Lennon. You know that white suit in the late ‘60s that he had? I never fully copied it like that. And then The Clash; I thought they just looked so cool. They still do, but I took little things from them. I remember seeing this Guided by Voices documentary, and he was wearing American-flag converse. I feel like you try to copy, and then because you can never copy exactly, you end up finding your own thing.
Do you ever use a stylist?
I wouldn’t use a stylist now unless someone else is paying for it. I would if someone else was, just because [stylists] know what you like, and they just bring 100 different options of different stuff. It’s fun when I go do photo shoots and I can just wear something that I wouldn’t normally, like an Hermes suit. I’m not going to go drop $8,000 on an Hermes suit, but it looks awesome in a photo shoot.
You teamed up with Ilaria Urbinati and Confederacy on a suit line in the past. Is designing something you would ever consider doing again?
Yeah, of course. It was a lot of fun. I was trying to make a suit for people who maybe wouldn’t normally buy a suit. It was really good fabric, and it just ended up being a little expensive. So I didn’t achieve what I wanted to achieve. When that [opportunity] came around, it seemed fun, and it was a good idea. But I wouldn’t want to stop playing music to do that.
Albert Hammond Jr. was photographed by Amy Dickerson at 1OAK in West Hollywood.
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