Cloak Design: Alexandre Plokhov

Text by Allison Bethurem
Photograph by Ray Lee

Hidden beneath the heavy shoulder throw of Cloak Design lies a mysterious and alluring menswear line flapping its way onto the streets of urban cities around the world. Created by Russian-born designer Alexandre Plokhov, Cloak gives the modern-day man a chance to get in touch with his inner Goth while still exuding a deeply European boyish charm.

With a palette that mostly consists of charcoal, Plokhov mixes and matches white and black to form an array of clothing, from rigid safari jackets, to cuffed and baggy trousers, to masculine high-top boots. Pairing any or all three pieces together creates an ensemble ideal for a practical workday or a night scouring a dark alleyway in a forbidden part of the city. The Cloak man will look sophisticated, urban and grungy, all wrapped together by a chunky and masculine messenger tote.

Plokhov has created a morbidly tailored look for his Fall 2006 collection. Structured three-piece suits resemble a darker side of Pee-Wee Herman and flaunt a narrow leg, cropped hem and varying shades of gray all meshed together. Chunky knit sweaters and cardigans are soft and cozy enough to wrap yourself in while still maintaining a rugged edge.

For the punker trying to shield off blasts of cold air, Plokhov has designed a toned-down plaid jacket with oversized pockets, flapping buckles and an oversized collar. A sophisticated trench coat has taken on a lighter side with a taut belt and an iconic mini-cloak built into the shoulders. Match either coat with the staple look of skinny jeans and high-top boots for an outfit fresh out of Plokhov’s designing hub.

The dark look of Cloak has been making a splash on the bright and cheerful red carpet frequented by celebrities of all kind. Rock stars such as Beck and the members of Garbage and movie stars like Ethan Hawke and Jared Leto adorn themselves in this menswear line which, quite frankly, fits them to perfection. A more unlikely Cloak aficionado, however, is the utterly sweet and delicate Sarah Jessica Parker, who was smitten with the strong look of Cloak and placed a special order for a tux – even if it’s not for her hubby Matthew Broderick, she’d be statuesque enough to pull off a gothic Jane Bond look.

Plokhov has been making a name for himself since 1994 with his first company, Alexandre Plokhov Atelier, which fashioned stellar handmade suits. The precision and skill gained from the atelier has seeped into the seams of Cloak, known for its meticulous hand-tailoring and a hint of a stylish military zombie. In Fall 2004, Plokhov was honored with second place in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund awards for up-and-coming fashion designers. The following year, his flagship store in SoHo opened and received rave reviews for the eclectic feel of the boutique itself and its Tim Burtonesque clothing.

New York City is not the only place where men can deck themselves out in the dark and structured wardrobe of Cloak. The line is sold in Miami, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago, and for the jetsetting vampire, international boutiques in Tokyo, Paris, London and Barcelona will also let him get his fang on.

The label is rapidly draping itself across the retail market, and moreover, the clothes themselves are expanding from basic wear into a full-fledged look that covers the metrosexual Goth from devil-locked head to netherworld toes. Early this year, Plokhov debuted his new shoe line with two distinct styles at the Cloak store and Barneys in New York, unveiling a sturdy step towards reaching his goal: “I want Cloak to be a full wardrobe company,” Plokhov said in an interview on men.style.com, “with everything from shoes to underwear to suits to evening wear

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