Albert Haziza's legendary menswear store in Charlottenburg is a temple to timeless elegance. The Moroccan tailor, who once learned his trade from a Jewish Berliner, has developed his own exclusive menswear brand.
The confident smiles of Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart and Gregory Peck can be seen in the second floor windows above the showroom of men's fashion specialist Monsieur Albert. In his dapper three-piece suit with a perfect shirt, tie, and handkerchief combo to match, proprietor Albert Haziza has all the elegance of those icons of the silver screen gazing down on his customers from above. The 78-year-old Moroccan believes that his passion for good textiles and fashionable clothes was born with him; back when he was growing up in Casablanca, his family possessed a keen interest in personal appearance. When his elder brother became a tailor, Albert Haziza was eager to learn the profession, too.
His first job was at the men's clothing store of Alfred Hellmann, a Jewish German, originally from Berlin, who had come to Casablanca after being forced to flee the Nazis. In the early 1960s it was Hellmann who invited the young Albert Haziza to move to Berlin, where the older man also owned a shop. "Berlin fascinated me from the start," says Albert Haziza. For one, as an enthusiastic dancer, discos like the Eden Saloon or the Black Button offered him plenty of new territory in which to practice his moves.
Later he would open his own club – the Skyline Bar. It was only after he had met his German wife that he began to long for a return to his old profession. When he opened Monsieur Albert in 1968, the building on Knesebeckstrasse in Charlottenburg was freshly built. He attributes the success of his venture to his exclusive offerings, saying "I was the first one in Berlin to sell suits from Kiton or Ermenegildo Zegna."
It was a selection prized not only by public personalities such as Chancellor Helmut Schmidt or sports reporter Marcel Reif; Albert Haziza's clientele, of which "80 percent are regulars," all come for his exclusive suits, his warm reception, and his expert advice. Since 2002 his business has focused primarily on the coats, suits, ties and shirts from his own brand.
As to the inspiration for his designs, which are made from Italian fabrics and produced in Sicily, most of his ideas come to him just as he is getting ready to fall asleep. So the visionary grand seigneur can expect a few restless nights in the coming years.
Author: Eva Apraku