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From hosting American Idol to major red carpets, Ryan Seacrest has seen his fair share of suits — whether it’s his own Burberry numbers or ones worn by the deluge of A-listers he interviews. Now the broadcaster turned business man is readying to launch his latest venture: Distinction — an affordable line of suits, shirts, cufflinks and ties at Macy’s that boasts a “style-made-smart” color-matching system, allowing guys to put garments together using a numbered system. Pretty nifty. Also nifty: A complete suit starts at $550, with button-downs topping out at $69.50. There’s even a tux.
Pret-a-Reporter sat down with the man of the hour to chat about the evolution of the brand, Seacrest’s “husky” jeans days and what Burberry’s Christopher Bailey — who until now has been Seacrest’s go-to clothier — had to say about the line, which officially launches in Macy’s stores in September and is available on Macys.com now.
Congratulations. This must be some kind of superhero suit line since it comes from the master of multitasking.
I will tell you this: Every suit and tux is made so you can move quickly through life. The design is active, and you can move through life quickly and even put this together in a quick fashion. That was part of building this line — the ability of guys to find something they like and quickly put it on and stay on the move.
Today you’re a fashion icon, but is it true there were some husky jeans in your closet back in the day?
I used to dread going back to school because my mother would say, “All right, we’re going shopping and we’re going to get some new jeans and new shirts.” Then we’d always end up in the husky section to buy jeans, because that’s what fit me. I didn’t realize that “husky” was a nice way of saying I was chubby. I didn’t love shopping back then.
What about now?
I love it now! One of the great perks of being on television is getting to put on your uniform and going out and playing the game. Going out onstage is like game day — you get to go out and put on your suit and play. So moments before I go out on Idol, [there’s] that fun part of putting on a suit and feeling good in it and walking out and trying to convey the confidence that you get from putting on a good suit.
You’re known to sport Burberry suits on American Idol. What was the conversation like between you and Burberry when you told them you were launching a suit line?
Christopher [Bailey] has made the most amazing suits and tuxes for me for over a decade. I have had the greatest opportunity, through him, to wear great clothes. I told him about this, and he said it was a great idea; he was very supportive of it … there was nothing but enthusiasm. He’s a great friend.
What was the best piece of advice you received in the design process?
The best piece of advice was more of an understanding of how the business works inside. I don’t know that I appreciate fully— when you have a line, there are many different partners inside that line that make the different products for you. And when we met with all of the best ones, our real initiative was to create this amazing line with great detail and have it be affordable.
Is it in your contract that you have to wear your suits at events like the Emmys?
I don’t know if it’s in a contract or not, but I will. I want to wear my tuxes on New Year’s Eve. I want to wear my tuxes to the award shows. I love these suits.
Whose fashion do you admire, or are there any contemporaries you look to for style cues?
I look back to the Oscars, and I remember walking out with a white tuxedo jacket and black pants, and I thought, “I haven’t seen a lot of guys do this recently, and it’s a classic look.” In walks Matthew McConaughey in a white jacket and black pants, in walks Jared Leto — white jacket, black pants. So, what it told me is that guys are, more than ever, into what they’re wearing. They want to take pride and own it and make it something special. I’m always in awe of the guys who roll up at the Oscars. Kevin Spacey always has a great suit on. Leo always has a great tux on.
What’s the one piece in your closet you can’t get rid of?
Well, there’s one I did just get rid of, and that was a cummerbund. I have a pair of, must be 10- or 15-year-old Croc-looking Nikes. They’re backless, and you slide them on, and they’re like Crocs Nike Airs. I wear them, and people make fun of me. My radio staff hates them.
Now that you have your own line, do you feel more pressure not to leave the house in jersey shorts?
No, if anything it’s less pressure! You know what you’re going to wear that night.
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