Living in NYC you have a good chance of finding someone who can reweave a hole in a cashmere Missoni sweater or create a stunning one-of-a-kind dress.
David Samuel Menkes sounds like the gentleman to connect with for custom leather pieces. dievca offered a blog post which had photos using his work: BDSM in Haute Couture – Strict Magazine
If she ever becomes brave enough – she might stroll into his studio and ask if he can make a leather ‘Day Dress’ for her to wear presenting for Master.
Spirit And Flesh Magazine
DAVID SAMUEL MENKES
Interview by CYNTHIA ALTORISO
photography by DAVID CARLO
CYNTHIA ALTORISO: I met David Samuel Menkes by serendipity. I had gone to his building to visit the atelier of a neighboring bespoke tailor on his floor. When I noticed the wonderful quilted leather and studded door, I stopped in my tracks. Beyond the door was a pleasant-faced, blue-eyed and nosed-ringed man, who invited me in. To step inside David’s studio was akin to visiting Ali Baba’s cave of treasures!
There was David, at his heroic wooden work table, covered with beautiful leathers and interesting findings and tools. Behind him were steps leading to an outdoor Victorian quadrangle encompassing a secret garden unique for its exotic specimens and random classical statuary. This was only the beginning…
Appreciating my joy for his aesthetic, David pointed out the ‘walking stick corner’ which held a vast collection of wondrous vintage walking sticks, many of which I have had the good fortune to borrow for shoots.
Close by, above the wardrobe is a collection of marvelous old hats and hat boxes. Next, we moved into his bedroom with its’s centrally positioned canopy bed, draped with fine old paisley shawls.
One wall was covered in shelves holding antique sewing implements. Another wall held a vast collection of classical music covers, the many spines proudly proclaiming impressive works. And then there are the 2 drawers full of the bone button collection, the pleasure of which is to run one’s hands through. And there are the charming vintage children’s chairs. There’s more, much more, and, after these many years of knowing David, it has become a custom for me to bring visitors to experience this creative field trip.
David’s skills are not limited to the demimonde. For a project I was doing with Amy Arbus, he made a Picasso clown suit, for a shoot with Alan Cumming he made a spy’s binocular case, and for a shoot with Ellen von Unwerth, he crafted a lovely muzzle. I also arranged for a custom-made leather jacket, with the Union Jack, for Zombie, Rod Argent. Too many to list here, David has made or lent me many cunning pieces and accessories…the random eyepatch, the leather corset, the riding crops, etc., etc.
David is an old school artisan lovingly plying his trade, making up one of New York’s living, creative treasures.
I call him ‘The Leather Master’.
David Samuel Menkes established Custom Leatherwear in 1980. After graduating from Carnegie-Mellon University/ BA Costume and Scenic Design, he arrived in NY with theater dreams but soon found the Leather Scene more interesting. Applying a certain theatrical flair allowed for a wide range of designs within a strict code of dress. Developing a specialty in leathercraft also brought Fashion and Theater projects, as well as crafting for Artists, Interior Designers, Performers, and private customers, with projects ranging from Dog Muzzles to covering a giant head of Stalin with a hood!
The Thanksgiving Holiday is running late this year and that makes the ramp-up to Christmas/Hanukkah very short. With Global Warming in NYC, the whole of Autumn has disappeared. Some good news is that if you haven’t bought your cool weather gear, yet, you can do so with the Black Friday sales in your favor!
Here’s what dievca has been watching:
- Diamond Quilted Down Coats
- Cashmere Mittens
- Chunky Hats
- Cashmere Scarves
- Cashmere Sweaters
Click on the Gallery Photo to find the designer name:
Max Mara Camel Cashmere and Wool Reversible Sweater $795 on sale $330
Missoni Orange Label 100% Cashmere Sweater $800 on sale for $70 with repairs needed.
Garnet Hill 100% Cashmere chunky Sweater in Port Wine $299 on sale for $209
Donna Karan New York Reversible Down Puffer Coat $450 on sale for $160
Modal and Cashmere unbranded lightweight scarf $149 on sale for $80
On a side note: dievca has taken 33 sweaters to resale or Goodwill, 5 scarves, 3 hats, 4 pairs of mittens/gloves, and 4 down coats/jackets. You may be astounded by the numbers, but the lot was from years of collection and were well-loved and used. The replacement pieces are less in number and classics that will last.
Yes, friends and Master are astounded by dievca’s closet.
Years ago, dievca was in Milan for work and she was wearing a great pair of brown leather embossed crocodile boots. As dievca was rushing to an event, the heel got stuck in a walkway grate and ripped the back the boot off. Made for a really messy day – duct tape to the rescue…
dievca loved those boots.
she’s been looking for brown Croco boots ever since.
Finally, 17 years later:
THE CORSA CONCAVO
Note that the heel is not slim – dievca’s not getting stuck in a grate this time around!
The brand is M.Gemi and the cost is dear, but dievca is willing to spend the extra money for a pair that is going to replace two pairs in her closet (resale).
Here’s another version of the boot in case you need black:
The May 1968 events in France refers to the volatile, two-month period of civil unrest throughout France punctuated by demonstrations, major general strikes, and occupations of universities and factories. At its height, the events brought the economy of France almost to a halt. The protests reached such a point that political leaders feared civil war or revolution; the national government itself briefly ceased to function after President Charles de Gaulle secretly fled France for a few hours. The protests spurred an artistic movement, with songs, imaginative graffiti, posters, and slogans. (more below)
Half a century after student protests gripped the Left Bank of the French capital, a crowd was drawn to the Sonia Rykiel store to celebrate a new handbag, the Pavé, or cobblestone, meant as a playful nod to an era when angry protesters lobbed the stones at riot police.
That period of rebellion also gave birth to the label, still famous decades later for its striped and colorful knitwear.
And dievca finally found something to buy honoring her age. It took a year :
The social unrest began with a series of student occupation protests against capitalism, consumerism, American imperialism, and traditional institutions, values, and order. It then spread to factories with strikes involving 11 million workers, more than 22% of the total population of France at the time, for two continuous weeks. The movement was characterized by its spontaneous and decentralized wildcat disposition; this created contrast and sometimes even conflict between itself and the establishment, trade unions and workers’ parties. It was the largest general strike ever attempted in France, and the first nationwide wildcat general strike.
“May 68” affected French society for decades afterward. It is considered to this day as a cultural, social and moral turning point in the history of the country. As Alain Geismar—one of the leaders of the time—later pointed out, the movement succeeded “as a social revolution, not as a political one”.
Thank you to Wikipedia, WWD, French Vogue
graceful, polite, and behaving in a way that is thought to be socially acceptable for a woman:.
In dress, it is controlled, elegant, classic and conservative:
Master’s favorite look.
dievca has gotten away from it. The process takes time and patience. A consistency of body-size.
Worrying about elderly parents, travel, aging takes its toll. A general tendency towards quirky and downtown chic pulls dievca when given a choice to spend money on clothing…
Master does like to see His dievca in her downtown chic plumage, but D/s-wise He prefers “ladylike”.
Why does this matter?
dievca has been clearing and revamping her closet – she’s sold a great deal on the RealReal, eBay and at Buffalo Exchange. Her money has not gone towards any ladylike items…
she’s gone more practical, focusing on items that she desired during the past year, which went on sale:
she will have to ask Master how He feels about her negligence of ladylike dressing. He is entertained by her eclectic closet and He knows her focus has been on Family/Life items.
The luxury of being “Ladylike” will just have to wait until dievca can refocus.
dievca really wants to buy this sweater for a close friend. It would be given with a great deal of humor.
Because dievca is returning to Scandinavia for work, she’s been running around buying hair dye, allergy meds, Coach items, etc. Some are items people have requested and the rest are gifts dievca has found for friends.
One of her very close friends speaks excellent English. But sometimes words take a different meaning in another country. Like the word “Special” – here’s the Mirriam-Webster definition:
Definition of special
Definition of special
None of these definitions apply to how, dievca’s friend uses the word, “Special”. The friend uses the word to describe someone who is high maintenance and demanding or a little bit crazy. Someone who is a pain-in-the-neck. that one? she’s special
The word is said with an inferred eyeball roll.
OK – its sarcasm.
Wouldn’t this sweater be great for someone who is (wait for it….) special herself? dievca’s friend would laugh so hard if she received this sweater as a gift.
Do you know anyone who is…..Special?
a bird’s feathers collectively.
ATTICO OSTRICH FEATHERS TOP BUSTIER and DRESSES