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All signs point to a great year ahead of Aimé Leon Dore

Drop by for a coffee, huh?
Credit: Robert K. Chin/Alamy Stock Photo

This morning, LVMH Luxury Ventures, an investment arm of the French megaconglomerate that owns Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Marc Jacobs and Dior, announced an investment in Aimé Leon Dore, the New York-based menswear brand that has experienced the success in recent years. . (Just try to enter his Mulberry Street store without waiting.)

Teddy Santis, the Queens-born Greek-American designer behind the label, is, unlike many of his press-hungry counterparts, a relative figure in the menswear landscape. Since the founding of Aimé Léon Doré (Love comes from the French word for to like; Leon was his father’s childhood nickname; and Dore=Theodore=Teddy) in 2014, following an initial nudge from Kith’s Ronnie Fieg, Santis built his line quickly but quietly with a handful of clear references, a few nods to preparation via hip- hop (Vintage Polo, Tommy Hilfiger), and a reluctance to explain too much. “I really don’t know anything about him,” a fellow designer told me. He’s given scattered interviews here and there, but the “About Me” section of ALD’s website only links to Nas’s. Illmatic for more information.”

Yet a cult has blossomed. Santis opened the store on Mulberry Street in 2019, and queues quickly followed, but if you have to wait outside, you can at least do it with Greek-influenced coffee knocked down and koulourakia. QG called it the best menswear store of 2021. Fellow designer Todd Snyder, one of the standard bearers of the latest prep revival at J.Crew and now the steward of his own eponymous brand, has told the magazine the previous year, “He built an empire right under our noses, and he did it his way.

When customers notice, the powers that be notice too. This year should be important for Santis and ALD. It will see the launch of a full new American-made line for New Balance, which Santis has partnered with on versions of its sneakers, including the 550 (“the sneaker that would define 2021,” according to QG) and, more recently, a 993; details so far are scarce, but New Balance says more are on the way. LVMH Luxury Ventures tends to favor companies with growth opportunities, but leaves them more freedom to work on their own terms; he also invested in Gabriela Hearst and footwear retailer Stadium Goods (since acquired by Farfetch). ALD will continue to operate independently in New York, reports Business of Fashion. And quietly too. Messages to ALD were not returned by press time.

Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes