Profiles

MY LOOK: Alexander Shelley

This story first appeared in the May 2015 issue of Ottawa Magazine.
BY SARAH BROWN

Alexander Shelley is wearing a Hugo Boss shirt, Armani pants, and a vest by The Kooples. His shoes are Tiger of Sweden, and his watch is a Rolex Datejust. Photo by Rémi Thériault
Alexander Shelley is wearing a Hugo Boss shirt, Armani pants, and a vest by The Kooples. His shoes are Tiger of Sweden, and his watch is a Rolex Datejust. Photo by Rémi Thériault

 

Your musical travels have taken you around Europe, as well as to North America and Asia. Does your exposure to so many cities and cultures play into your style at home?
Absolutely — it is one of the joys of my profession that I am able to travel so much and to revel in the diversity that makes our world so very rich and colourful. I love observing the subtly different trends and looks from country to country, sometimes even from city to city. Without doubt, they all have their influence on my own style.

You have been chief conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra since 2009. What style trends have you picked up on while in Germany?
Germans have a nice line in smart casual clothing — a little like the Scandinavians — which is a style that has always appealed to me. Hugo Boss and Armani are trusty go-tos for suits, I find.

You’ve been lauded for thinking outside the box in terms of initiatives to attract young adults to the concert hall. Does that connection to youth mean a more casual style on and off the stage?
At 35, I don’t yet feel that old myself, but it is true that my various projects have helped to keep me connected with youth culture. I have to be a little bit of a chameleon in professional life, as what we perform is so astonishingly diverse.

Tell me about your performance tuxes.
I have quite a few different options for concert attire, and which option I go for depends on the occasion and the climate. I have a few tuxedos: a couple from Hugo and a couple from The Kooples. I of course have a couple of pairs of tails (penguin suits!), and then I have a black high-collared suit from Shanghai Tang in Hong Kong.

How would you describe your personal style?
Although I love variety, I would say that my default is smart. I like a crisp shirt and nicely tailored trousers or suit.

What item of clothing can you not live without?
Even though they count as accessories and not clothing, I would have to say my watches — I have been collecting for a few years now and enjoy the finesse of a beautifully crafted timepiece. Something about conducting and keeping time, I guess.

What do you wear on a lazy Sunday morning, assuming you get those every once in a while?
Sweatpants, T-shirt, and some big comfy socks.

What’s your favourite city in which to people-watch?
Oh, gosh, there are so many possibilities … New York or Berlin for the sheer diversity of styles, Tokyo for something completely different, and perhaps Rome for pure elegance. Ultimately maybe it has to be my hometown of London, but then I’m biased!