There are very few bespoke tailors I would have faith in to explore an entirely new style or new medium. They include Lorenzo Cifonelli, Davide Taub and Rubinacci (Luca plus cutter). Many more, although highly innovative, tend to make within a definite style: I would put Edward Sexton, Tom Baker and Joe Morgan in that group.
It was to Davide Taub, in his pivotal role at the new Gieves & Hawkes bespoke team, that I turned to for an entirely new bespoke project: a leather jacket.
Davide has experience in this area, having created blousons in all sorts of materials while at Maurice Sedwell. In fact, when we started talking about this project it turned out he has been working with a leather specialist in his spare time, helping him develop his ready-to-wear models. In my experience, work such as this on RTW proportions and grading is invaluable, and shunned undeservedly by a lot of tailors.
The idea for our jacket was to create a simple, zip-up blouson in a veg-tanned, naturally finished leather. The finish on the leather should make up for the fact that most modern jackets go through a ‘distressing’ process to make them look old and worn, particularly around the seams.
Although simple in design, the jacket would include quite a few features from bespoke tailoring. The shoulder would have a thin pad, the chest a slim piece of canvas and, most noticeably, the sleeve would be cut to drop down vertically from the shoulder. Casual jackets are usually cut with the sleeve at almost right angles to the body, to allow for plenty of movement up and down. A handmade jacket, with its larger sleevehead and small armhole, can get away with being almost flat to the body.