Why Hollywood Men Should Consider Bespoke Everything
For guys who care, going bespoke feels powerful, unique and gives a specific edge that nobody else has in the world, argues Andrew Weitz, style consultant to top Hollywood executives and talent.
"Bespoke" can refer to anything from suits to websites to bikes to shoes. The word comes from "bespeak," which means to speak for something. If I'm making a custom suit, I'm speaking for me, for who I am, for what my business is. But it's not showing off — that's not it. When you're ordering something to be made the way you want it, you're speaking to the world.
With bespoke, you start from scratch. You're building a garment with the experience and guidance of the person making it for you. That's the difference between bespoke and made-to-measure. You can get a good result with M2M, but you're adapting a garment from an existing block pattern. It's the designer's vision, not yours. The shoulder will be the same, the lapel similar. All you can do is move the button, change the fabric and adjust the fit.
I encourage bespoke for clients, to hide flaws and accentuate areas that should be accentuated. When people have an odd shape, an individual pattern is crafted. Say you have a bit of a midsection. You're going to have to lengthen the jacket there a bit, then adjust at the shoulders. Then comes the part that's creative and fun: Do you want an unconstructed shoulder, a European "roped" broadly padded shoulder or something in between? How wide and high do you want the lapels? How many buttons on the jacket? Do you want a single, double or no vents? Would you like a fancy jacket lining? Side or saddle pockets with the trousers? Waist tabs or belt loops?
Bespoke is more expensive than M2M or off-the-rack, running $3,000 to $10,000-plus for a suit. But say you're fit, yet you have to buy oversize shirts to fit a big neck — that ready-made shirt will need to be extensively tailored. It may be better to spring for custom shirts that fit properly.
When most men think of bespoke, they think of suits. But today, everyone in the business is doing business casual or sporty casual. Presentation and perception are still important, regardless — and you can get bespoke leather jackets, track pants, hoodies, sweaters and polos.
For men who care, going bespoke feels powerful, unique and gives an edge that nobody else has in the world. Both the process and results are gratifying. Back when I was an agent, I walked into a shop on London's Savile Row and ordered a bespoke suit. I thought, "This is the ultimate." And it was just like the movies: "Get me a scotch and measure me up for a suit."
THR contributing editor Weitz is the founder of The Weitz Effect, a style consultancy.
HOLLYWOOD'S TOP CUSTOM TAILORS, by Vincent Boucher
NYC-based, he makes quarterly trips to Chateau Marmont to service L.A. fans of his work, which combines Brit tailoring and supple Italian fabric. “I’m an American, so I take the best of both worlds.” From $2,450; (347) 982-4382.
Clientele: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Michael Cera, Wes Anderson collaborator Hugo Guinness
The look: The sensibility of English tailoring and a supple, comfort-driven feeling of Italy
Signature detail: Lightly padded or not padded shoulder
Jerry "JB" Bakhchyan has been offering bespoke tailored clothing in a swanky downtown atelier complete with bar since 2000 (it was even the scene for an episode of Ray Donovan). Choose among Bakhchyan's 3,000 imported fabrics for suits that can be monogrammed. From $2,500; (213) 785-8998.
Clientele: Peter Facinelli, RuPaul producer Tom Campbell
The look: Classically modern with an emphasis on luxe fabrics
Signature detail: Personal monogram inside the jacket
The New York-based duo of Aleks Musika and Davidson Petit-Frére parlayed Instagram fame into a buzzy business for the Hollywood crowd with their vision of sexy glamour for men. “We pair Old World craftsmanship with a modern, fashion-forward silhouette,” says Musika. From $2,800; info@MusikaFrere.com.
Clientele: The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, Jay-Z, Sterling K. Brown
The look: Tailoring as sharp as an Xacto knife
Signature detail: Peak lapels, not only on tuxedoes but business suits and blazers as well
This cool new entrant makes office and house calls. “I have a certain vibe, I'm always gonna be colorful and I'm always gonna be very tailored,” says this L.A. bespoke guru. Besides suits and sport jackets, he specializes in custom track jackets and sporty trousers with an elevated streetwear vibe. From $3,000 for a suit; Eli@rich-fresh.com.
Clientele: Anthony Anderson, F. Gary Gray, Belly, Iman
The look: Like the man says, “Fresh”
Signature Detail: Contrasting side stripe on his suit trousers
With private bespoke consultation and cutting rooms for fittings and fabric selection, London’s Thom Sweeney opened a 3,000-square foot outpost in New York’s Soho last December, bringing its mind-meld of traditional British craft crossed with a certain Italian-influenced brio to Manhattan. From $4,200; (646) 851-0586.
Clientele: Michael Fassbender, Daniel Craig
The look: Each suit is handmade in both their London and New York workrooms and cut with a more modern line than traditional Saville Row tailoring
Signature detail: On the right-hand side of jacket, a ticket pocket — a classic British flapped change pocket that sits above the hip pocket
In business for 15 years, this ex-agent-trainee clothes many of the industry’s snappiest dressers. He leans toward a clean, subtle approach with deep earth tones that are visually rich. From $2,875; (213) 955-5750.
Clientele: WME partner Greg Hodis, UTA’s Jay Gassner, LeBron James
The look: Less is more, sometimes even eschewing jacket pockets all together
Signature detail: On jacket cuffs, buttons that touch lightly or overlap, known in tailoring parlance as "kissing" buttons
A version of this story first appeared in the Oct. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.