Given the ubiquity of denim in our wardrobes, it’s surprising how rarely we come across a truly great pair of jeans. But with the U.S. arrival of Atelier Notify—Paris’s sartorial expert on bespoke denim—the perpetual quest for indigo perfection takes an interesting new turn. The studio, which this fall opens outposts at Neiman Marcus’s NYC (giving the city’s other denim atelier, 3×1, some stiff competition) and Beverly Hills locations, doesn’t just tailor jeans to fit; it can create almost any conceivable type of wash, weight, and texture.
Jeans, in fact, are anything but basic, says Maurice Ohayon, who applied his tailoring savoir faire to denim when he started Atelier Notify in 2003. What began as a small workshop experimenting with ways to improve and individualize denim has since grown into a bespoke business that makes custom jeans in every shape, color, and style imaginable (plus leather pants and jackets). Lavish embroidery? Yep. Specially designed pockets? Not a problem. Braided leather trim along the sides of your pants? Sure, if that’s your thing.
“We give classic items, like a denim jacket or shirt, a sense of modernity,” says Ohayon, who learned his passion for tailoring from his mother (a menswear tailor herself ). Most clients, including a roster of celebrities and royalty, initially visit Atelier Notify’s Paris or Milan shop for a single item that exists only in their minds. But once they experience the custom fit, there’s no turning back, says Ohayon.
Like Atelier Notify’s European shops, the denim experience at Neiman Marcus begins with some crucial decisions: Which wash, weight, and finish speaks to you? Are you a zipper or a button-fly guy? What’s your rivet style? Then, after a tailor measures you six ways from Sunday, your file is off to the Milan workshop, where a pattern is created and the garment is sewn. Four to six weeks and a local in-store fitting later, you’re sporting the jeans of your dreams.
But for the real blues buffs among us, only a visit to Onayon’s Milan flagship will do. The sprawling laboratory is like the Disneyland of denim: There, giant machines wash cloth with stones to achieve the perfect level of softness, and rows of colors and styles endlessly inspire. Though it’s easy to get carried away, we suggest, as always, to keep your look clean and classic. And, please, leave the acid wash to Kanye.