October 31, 2014

Daniel Sudar on Designing for Celeb Chef Art Smith (+ Meeting Lady Gaga)

Art Smith, Lady Gaga and Daniel Sudar

Since showing all-white menswear at January’s SNOW fashion show in San Francisco, you might say designer Daniel Sudar has been a little busy. While working as a chef and creating his next menswear collection, Sudar has landed ongoing commissions from celebrity chef and author Art Smith and found time to hobnob in Los Angeles with the likes of Lady Gaga and actor Peter Paige.

We recently caught up with Sudar to chat about designing for Smith, his latest work and – of course – meeting Gaga.

What does it mean to be a personal designer? How is it different from designing a collection or ready-to-wear?

As personal designer for celebrity chef Art Smith, I design garments based on what fits for the event. Usually my client provides me information about  the event in advance, then I put together something for my client. Designing a collection is based on what inspires me.

How did you become Art Smith’s personal designer?

I met him in 2000 when he came to visit San Francisco, and he visited Betelnut restaurant, where I was the Chef de Cuisine. In May 2010, after I showed my first collection, DRIVEN, I showed him my collection.  He told me that he is getting married in August 2010, and he wanted me to design his wedding suit and People magazine was covering the wedding event. I was nervous because it was my first opportunity to design for a celebrity figure, although my design turned out  to fit him perfectly.

Two days after I have shown my Free Spirit (SNOW) collection, he contacted and asked if I have something new for him to wear for an event in Miami South Beach. I sent him one of my white suits with a sterling silver bow tie, and he loved it. From that time on, I he told me that I was officially his personal designer.

What do you usually design for Smith? What kind of apparel does he like the most?

Right now mostly I design suits, shirts and ties. He loves my designs, my tailoring and my choice of my fabric.  He likes something simple, mod, sleek and chic, well-tailored garments.

You were recently in Los Angeles, and we hear you met a slew of celebrities, including Lady Gaga. How did that happen?

Yes, it was one of the most wonderful experiences for me. Art smith invited me to dress him for his appearance at Lady Gaga’s birthday concert. Fortunately, I have an Avant that Garde suit that was perfect for him to wear for this event. I brought my model, Troy Castaneda, along to accompany me to attend this event.  Art Smith was so wonderful that he got us VIP tickets backstage to meet Lady Gaga after the concert.  It was the best ticket anyone could ask for.

Right after the concert, we headed to the back stage, and I met Peter Paige (actor from Queer as Folk) and Aaron “Az” Ferguson, co-author of the best-selling book The Game on Diet (Art Smith’s personal trainer).

Art Smith, Peter Paige and Daniel Sudar

What was it like meeting Lady Gaga? Were you nervous?

I was nervous and disbelieve that I would meet Lady Gaga in person.  She is so sweet, down-to-earth, well-spoken and very smart.  She is a beautiful person. I am so happy that I could meet her in person.

What are you working on right now? Do you have a new collection in the works?

Right now I am working on chef coats for Art Smith.  Also, I am working for my Fall/Winter 2011-2012 collection called REVOLVER, inspired by time and texture.

A Daniel Sudar look from January's SNOW II. Photo by Christophe Tomatis.

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