Most stylish New Yorkers: Dana Leong

The innovative musician's globe-spanning style is as cool and eclectic as his sounds.

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  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Leong wears a custom-made jeweled coat he purchased at an Indian silk shop in Suva, Fiji. He wears it with a shirt from the Scott Weiland Collection by English Laundry and Banana Republic pants. "This is my regal look from the Far East," he says.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Leong picks up unusual pieces all over the world to create his eclectic style. While on tour in Tel Aviv, he stumbled upon this cedar-bead necklace in an open-air market "after I kept seeing punk kids showing up to our shows with plastic beads." The oversize faux-emerald pendant is from a pawn shop in Vientiane, Laos, and he won the Swarovski Nirvana Black Diamond crystal ring in a card game in Atlantic City.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Leong's shades are rare, paper-thin Uschi square frames designed by Bernhard Willhelm for Berlin eyewear company Mykita. "I found them in a secret store within the walls of the Jardin du Palais-Royal in Paris," he reveals.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    The musician bought his signature citrine ring in a silver shop during a trip to Chicago. "I knew it had special powers," he says. The sterling-silver bracelet belonged to his singer-songwriter mother. "She bought it over 30 years ago in Moscow when she was touring," he recounts. "She recently uncovered it in a box while cleaning out our garage in San Francisco."

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    These white Adidas Porsche Design kicks are "extremely lightweight," Leong boasts.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Leong's shirt, zip-front sweater and cargo pants are all from Onassis (71 Greene St between Broome and Spring Sts; 212-966-8869, ona-ssis.com). He throws on this ensemble "when I want to be comfortable but still classy."

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    An avid sunglasses collector, Leong loves to stockpile everything from one-of-a-kind haute-couture frames to novelty shades. "Someday, and a few thousand pairs later, I may even catch up to Sir Elton John," he says. He sports an ultra-exclusive pair of Lunettes by jeweler FRED that features braided platinum arms and 24-karat gold fittings.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Outdoor markets rank among his favorite fashion-hunting grounds. Leong combines a spiked Japanese anime-style bracelet from a Soho street vendor with a sterling-silver bullet bracelet picked up in "a seedy jewelry shop" on L.A.'s Sunset Strip. He bought the red ring from an artist hawking his own designs in a Berlin market.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Red suede Tonino driving shoes by Lamborghini add a flash of color. "I grew up in the Bay Area where car culture is prevalent. In New York, I've subliminally kept up my appreciation for high-end automobiles on my feet."

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    "There are only so many choices in men's fashion," laments Leong, "so even with a blazer, T-shirt and slacks, it's nice to keep it fresh." This color-popping combination consists of a DKNY purple velvet blazer, yellow Diesel T-shirt and Express pants. 

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Leong's bracelet is actually a silver Tibetan choker, bought at Himalayan Vision in the East Village (127 Second Ave between 7th and 8th Sts, 212-254-1952), wrapped twice around his wrist.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Leong adorns his digits, along with the ever-present citrine ring, with a crown-shaped silver ring bought in the Shibuya district of Tokyo and a Torque ring designed by Frank Gehry for Tiffany & Co. (locations throughout the city; visit tiffany.com for info).   

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Leong scored these gunmetal-gray Robert Wayne shoes from DSW (locations throughout the city; visit dsw.com for info). "I like these because silver and gray are rare colors found in men's shoes and the fat rubber soles remind me of the old Vans I used to wear as a kid."

Photograph: Zenith Richards

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Leong wears a custom-made jeweled coat he purchased at an Indian silk shop in Suva, Fiji. He wears it with a shirt from the Scott Weiland Collection by English Laundry and Banana Republic pants. "This is my regal look from the Far East," he says.

Dana Leong, 30; cellist, trombonist and composer (danaleong.com); Harlem

His personal style: "An eye-catching, globally influenced fusion of traditional and modern fashions."

His inspirations: "I'm constantly paying attention to things around me. I read magazines, watch movies and people-watch. I'm inspired by energy, mood and intention. When I'm picking my clothes, they have to 'speak' to me. Some have a flash of electricity and excitement, while others have a sense of mystique and class."

Favorite NYC stores: "Housing Works (locations throughout the city; visit shophousingworks.com for info). I like that each of these specialty thrift stores carries the concept of social enterprise, and profits help homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. I also like how I might find a $1 wireless computer mouse and a killer leather coat right next to a mystical glitter lava lamp. I drop into Diesel from time to time because they always have some cool, original T-shirts. Soho newcomer Onassis (71 Greene St between Broome and Spring Sts; 212-966-8869, ona-ssis.com) has impressed me by making clothes that speak to my sense of fashion while making it unbelievably comfortable to dress up—and they have a free chocolate and [coffee every day]!"

His signature accessories: "My wooden necklace and my citrine ring. When I go on long tours, I like to have an item that makes me feel at home. One time, I was so exhausted after an extremely raucous show that I actually fell asleep in the bath and flooded not just a room, but an entire hotel! The cedar-bead necklace kept me afloat throughout the night and I've kept it on ever since!"

Favorite local designer: "I've been drawn to a few of the more funky accessories by Marc Jacobs (locations throughout the city; visit marcjacobs.com for info)."

How his style has evolved through the years: "In the '90s, I was into the bright, baggy styles prevalent in West Coast skate and hip-hop cultures. When I moved to New York, some of my first high-profile gigs didn't allow casual clothes. I would get a call with only a few hours' notice to be on stage, and I had to look sharp. In the last few years, I have mainly been touring my own hip-hop/jazz band Milk & Jade, creating and playing my own music, so I've loved being able to call the shots on my dress code."

On his cello: "While I was lucky to be able to consult and test the instrument during the developmental stages of its latest incarnation, the core design is by Mr. Hiroshi Nakaya and his team at Yamaha. I definitely see it as part of my style. My music (like my fashion) is a hybrid of tradition (classical, jazz) with the future of hip-hop, rock and electronica, so my cello must be a futuristic classic as well."

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