Not Quite Bespoke: Made to Measure Is Style On Demand
In a town obsessed with wanting to have it yesterday, menswear's major players have zeroed on the guy who still wants to stand out and make his own fashion statement.
With the rise of designer Made-to-Measure, there’s a newly important option between the endless variations of old school bespoke tailoring and just buying a suit off the rack. MTM offers the client a selection of signature styles, or models, to be made up in fabric of the customer’s choice and with modifications to suit his physique and personal tastes. And, increasingly, MTM is going beyond the boardroom with luxury sportswear, shoes and accessories part of the mix.
"Especially in our world in Hollywood, everyone wants things right away," says executive style consultant Andrew Weitz, explaining that the MTM is also easier for the client to visualize since it’s based on existing suit models. “If you know you look good in a designer’s cut of suiting and you want it in another fabric or maybe the button stance of the jacket is a little high or low low, you can adjust that.”
And Saks Fifth Avenue vice-president and men’s fashion director Eric Jennings says MTM is another way for Hollywood’s men to signal their personal style in the era of increased online coverage and Instagram. "It’s critical for executives to stand out now and customizing their style is becoming essential to their own brand building."
One sign of its new importance was the splashy fall ad campaign from menswear maestro Giorgio Armani featuring actors Dan Stevens and Matt Bomer and Chinese star Chen Kun, a first to present this custom service in a fashion light. “I think designers want to break in even more with L.A. and that’s why you see them redesigning their stores the last few years and putting more money into the Hollywood world," says Weitz. The compressed delivery time averaging two months from first consultation to final delivery is the big draw, even with a price tag that starts at 10 to 20 per cent more than off-the-peg and climbs precipitously for luxury fabrics like cashmere and superfine wools.
"All of our luxury tailored clothing brands offer Made-to-Measure," says Jennings and Saks also has its own SFA-branded program with options in classic all-American, elegant Italian and modern London-derived silhouettes. And Barneys New York offers exclusive MTM options from vaunted Paris tailors Cifonelli and Rome’s renowned Battistoni, among others.
"I think its great for the guy who doesn’t want to shop or have the time. He can pick up the phone and call his guy and they have his measurements," says Weitz. "He can say, ‘I want to order four more shirts, four more suits,’ or whatever and ‘boom!’ it shows up at his door."
1. DIOR HOMME
The French house, which won attention for its streamlined suitings on Channing Tatum and Steven Spielberg, launched its demi-mesure program in 2013, and now offers 200 suit fabrics and more than 160 shirting choices. A single tailor in Paris creates the suit; five to eight weeks later the garment is shipped back for a second fitting, with delivery the next week. At Dior Homme, New York and Beverly Hills; suits start at $4,000, jackets at $3,400, trousers at $830, shirts at $740.
Dior Homme Demi-Mesure shirt; $740, and jacket (part of suit), $4,000.
2. ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA
With an unrivaled selection of more than 700 fabrics, Zegna creates a computer-generated pattern for all clients, including Idris Elba, Matt Lauer and Carmelo Anthony. Each suit is made up of 100 pieces and is hand-cut and -finished, with a personalized inside label. Delivery time can be as little as 28 days. At Zegna stores nationwide; suits start at $3,995, trousers at $895, shirts at $395.
3. GIORGIO ARMANI
For customers like Tom Cruise, Martin Scorsese and Eddie Redmayne, the MTM process involves choosing between Armani’s "natural" silhouette or more classically structured models. Fabrics range from pinstripes and herringbone to luxurious vicuna wools. At Giorgio Armani worldwide, including Beverly Hills and New York; suits start at $4,440.
The MTM program includes suits, formalwear, sportswear, leather jackets and its fabled footwear. Within the range of four suit models, there are more than 60 options, including unique silk foulard linings. Three different styles of lace-ups are offered as well as the signature horsebit loafer in 21 colors. Delivery of suits and clothing in six weeks and shoes in 12 weeks. At Gucci flagship stores, including New York, Beverly Hills and South Coast Plaza; suits from $4,000 to $11,000, jackets start at $3,000, trousers at $900, shirts at $500, footwear from $3,000.
5. RALPH LAUREN
Aside from suiting, there are very RL extras like alligator luggage and velvet slippers. At a consultation that includes posture analysis, the client can choose from eight jacket styles and six for trousers in 750 luxury fabrics. Suitings are hand-sewn in Italy; completion time after a second fitting is about eight weeks. There also are 12 dress shoe styles as well as customizable cufflinks, signet rings and money clips. At Ralph Lauren stores, including New York and Beverly Hills; suits start at $5,600, shirts at $425, footwear at $1,500 for leather styles.
Ralph Lauren alligator briefcase; $22,000.
6. TOM FORD
Tom Ford goes bigscreen this season with MTM versions of his Daniel Craig styles from Spectre, including suits, overcoats and a spy-worthy white dinner jacket. Around 300 fabrics are available for tailored clothing and another 200 for shirtings. Seven weeks after a second fitting, final alterations are made by the in-store tailor. At all Tom Ford stores, including New York and Beverly Hills; suits start at $4,640, tuxedos at $5,540, shirts at $680, shoes at $3,400.