Bespoke tailoring? An utterly natural service for Berluti to offer, making it the only brand that dresses its clients in tailor-made attire from head to toe.
Let’s go behind the scenes at our tailoring workshops.
True bespoke tailoring, known by connoisseurs as “Grande Mesure,” is sartorial artisanry synonymous with perfection: for each client, in accordance with the client’s desires, morphology, personality and wearing intentions, the master tailor creates a unique garment, handmade, impeccably fitted and designed entirely with and for that client.
BESPOKE TAILORING: THE STEPS
It all begins with an initial appointment in one of the Maison’s private rooms, when the client meets his master tailor, who will work with him throughout the process to discuss and implement his bespoke desires. The tailor will ask his client questions that are precisely tailored, as well: he needs to learn who the client is, how he lives, what type of suit he is seeking, for what occasions, in what seasons. A businessman who is constantly crossing time zones will not have the same needs or desires as, say, a prominent media figure, whose profession would call for an original and varied wardrobe.
The tailor then takes the measurements. There are more than 20 measurements needed, ranging from shoulder width to leg length. The tailor is trained to see everything: he is there to correct asymmetry, straighten a shoulder, lengthen a silhouette. He will also advise the client on the cut of the suit, one that will draw the eye or exude discretion: one, two or three buttons and the button style; hand-sewn or patch pockets, their number and their placement inside or outside; pointed or notched lapels and their width; lining colour; and more. At every step, the master tailor guides the client with expert, enlightened suggestions.
THE CHOICE OF FABRIC
The time has come to select the fabric for the suit. The choices seems endless, with more than 3,000 textile options woven by leading fabric companies from Italy, England, Ireland, France. The client may have a specific request, such as for a special event, in which case the master tailor will work with him to find just the fabric desired. As with fine wines or sports cars, bespoke tailoring has its own specific vocabulary. When it comes to fabrics, the conversation may touch upon cashmere, vicuña, a “Prince of Wales” check or the “tennis” stripe. The fabric’s density, too, is important: the higher its metric value, the finer the material and the softer the hand. The choice also depends on the client’s lifestyle. Maison Berluti guides the client in choosing a combination of elegance and innovation by proposing, for example, a wrinkle-resistant, water-repellent fabric that stands up to foul weather while remaining superbly breathable.
After the first meeting, the master tailor begins crafting the suit. The designs of the jacket and trousers are sketched by the tailors to conform to the client’s morphology, adjusting the jacket’s hang or, if needed, rebalancing the shoulders. All these lines and details are noted on a sketch, constituting the pattern-making stage. This information is then transcribed onto a piece of cotton canvas, known as toile, the first prototype of the jacket. After an initial fitting, once certain of the measurements and adjustments, the master tailor begins to cut the suit from the client’s chosen fabric, leaving extra material on each piece to allow for adjustments both at the fitting and in the future of the client-jacket relationship.
The master tailor requires three weeks to create the first toile of the jacket. Once this canvas prototype is ready, though still without pockets or lining, the client is called in for a fitting. The tailor will check the jacket’s balance lines, meaning how the piece aligns with the body. At this point, the trousers will be ready to try on. At the second fitting, which takes place a few weeks later, the client can try on the suit, which will have been entirely hand-assembled and -sewn by specialised assemblers, the apièceurs: the collar, sleeves, inner and outer pockets and lining will be sewn or basted (a temporary measure to allow for later adjustments).
Every client has his own requirements, which are sometimes quite specific: gussets, martingales, cuff shape, a pocket sized to hold glasses or telephone. At the final fitting, the master tailor makes the final adjustments, eliminating the slightest gather or wrinkle, ensuring taut, clean lines, with modifications of the model down to the millimetre. Creative audacity is also expressed in unique details: a dazzling suit lining, a hidden pocket, a daring button style, an unexpected leather insert. Bespoke tailoring leaves nothing to chance – or to déjà vu.
A ONE-OF-A-KIND GARMENT
About three months after the measurement-taking of the first appointment, the client will be able to leave with his ideal suit or shirt, one crafted entirely to suit his personality, body and wishes. All told, his master tailor and the tailor’s team will have devoted some 70 hours of work to the project. It is a unique suit that often presages a lasting relationship, as the same tailor will work with his client for any subsequent orders, modifying, as needed, his precious measurement data and pattern. As time passes, he will remain ever aware of his client’s physical shape and sartorial preferences.