Designer Asher Levine both inspires and is inspired by New York City's club scene, an aesthetic that's as obvious from his outré silhouettes as it is from his famous clientele. Fresh out of school, he was handpicked by Lady Gaga's creative director, Nicola Formichetti, to create looks for the chimeric pop star. Levine's over-sized leather coat and white straitjacket became staples of the pop star's wardrobe. Those outfits are par for the course for the 23-year-old, who called his Fall/Winter 2011 inspiration "mutant motorcycle stud" and wound up with a collection that was halfway between Marlon Brando and HR Geiger. Still, he knows that to stay in business, he's got to temper his wilder instincts. "I want to make crazy, conceptual clothes, but to stay in business, I needed to focus on wearability," he says.
 
He did just that for his last collection, showing a comparatively subdued menswear line that still featured his signature flourishes -- consider the elephant-skin motorcycle jacket he sent down the catwalk on figure skater, Johnny Weir. There's a glam touch to Levine's sensibility, which has also found fans in the Scissor Sisters and the Black Eyed Peas.

Raised in Port Charlotte, Florida, the designer moved to New York to study at Pace University. While at school, he transformed his basement apartment into a workshop and turned clothier full-time after graduating. He wanted to make clothes he could wear out at night, doubtless influenced by a trip to New York when he was 16, that included an evening out at the Maritime Hotel, where he met nightlife legends Richie Rich and Amanda Lepore. "I knew it instantly," he recalls. "I belonged here."


ASHER WEARS CAPE BY ASHER LEVINE, PANTS BY ARMANI AND BRACELET BY EDDIE BORGO.


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