Bespoke gilet Davide Taub Gieves

  
Some of my best, certainly my most original bespoke projects have been undertaken with Davide Taub, head cutter at Gieves & Hawkes. Regular readers will remember the bespoke leather jacket we made together in 2013, and the pea coat in 2014. 

If I learnt one thing from those projects, it was to keep things simple. Reduce the number of variables and you’ll be more certain of success. The same goes for collaborations – stay with what the manufacturer does best, but change one thing that they either didn’t think of, or didn’t think was commercially viable. 

For our next project together, therefore, I took a part of Davide’s innovative driving jacket he made for the Bentley exhibition, and adapted to my own uses. 

That driving jacket included a quilted panel that buttoned into the front, zipping up the centre and giving the impression of a gilet worn underneath it (below, left).

The whole thing was nothing more than one long, vertical panel of cotton and straps that fastened around the neck and waist. But the effect was striking.
 

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 09.58.57Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 09.57.37

  
It’s a look that many fashion brands, such as Brunello Cucinelli, try to affect with actual gilets worn underneath tailoring – but the gilets are inevitably too bulky.

This fake-gilet look that Davide created is also not new – Corneliani have done it successfully for many years by zipping in front panels to their ID jackets (above, right). But doing it bespoke is special, and has many advantages. 

The biggest one is that this gilet can be adapted to fit many jackets. As long as they are roughly the same style, the buttons that it attaches to can be sewn into any jacket, inserted precisely into each one so that front piece lies perfectly down the chest. 

I decided to have the gilet cut to fit into my Neapolitan jackets from Elia Caliendo. I have three: a grey Permanent Style tweed (shown in this post), a tan lightweight jacket and a brown Harris tweed. The gilet probably wouldn’t work with the summer jacket, but it would be great with the other two – as well as a caramel-coloured cashmere that I am having made for winter. 
  

Bespoke gilet Davide Taub Gieves & Hawkes Bespoke gilet Davide Taub Gieves & Hawkes2

  
So the next question was, what colour should the gilet be? In order to work with as many jackets as possible, brown was the obvious choice. Initially I thought about dark brown, but looking at the cotton bunch, a biscuit-coloured mid-brown was actually more interesting and worked with all the jackets.

In the images here you can see our first fitting, with the brown cotton twill up the front and the canvas around the neck (which will eventually also be covered with the cotton).

There will be a discrete zip down the middle (thinner than on the driving jacket) and quilting across the front. Unlike the driving jacket, the zip will reach right up to the chin, rather than having a flap across the top. (And the quilting lines will definitely match across the front!)

There are many other issues to talk about – including the nature of the quilting and the necessity of a waist and neck strap. But I’ll leave those for another post. 
  

Bespoke gilet Davide TaubBespoke gilet Davide Taub Gieves2 & Hawkes

 

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Michael Murray

Simon,

This is certainly one of your most interesting projects to date. I have always thought Cucinelli does a great job with the look, but you are absolutely right that wearing a full gilet simply doesn’t work under proper fitting jackets. Very curious to see this project develop and the final result.

All the best,

Michael

Tom

A bit of a pretence/fancy to wear a backless gilet? Reducing a practical item to a fashion statement….

Paul

As a concept for Bentley, I thought it was great. Like most concepts, it allows the imagination free rein. In real life though….perhaps its practicality is limited. Style over substance? I’m sure it’ll be a fun project, though!

Charlie S.

Would it not be possible to back it with just a thin layer of cloth.. so the same area is padded/quilted but it does still retain a back (and thus remain a functional clothing item on its own). The same way any other waistcoat designed to be worn with suiting is made.

Stephen

Gilets are very useful – especially if they can match with other garments. The beauty of them, especially in the Corneliani design is making a trad. jacket warmer and adding a touch of sportiness to a tailored piece. I do like the twist you are adding Simon – the use with other jackets. Past partnerships with David have produced stunning results – looking forward to the finished item.

TC

Taub seems exceptional.

Dare you to wear it without a jacket to the Carlton Club.

David Craggs

An interesting project albeit, a little too down the fashionista street for my particular taste.
Personally I don’t like too much going on and prefer beautifully cut staples. Your Elia Caliendo jacket being a fine example.

Ivor Tiddler

Hi Simon,
I love the look of your brown tweed jacket, and I notice that you say it is a vintage tweed (from a previous post). Do you happen to know exactly which cloth you used?

Many thanks.

John

Hi Simon,
You shared an important lesson here that is really worth keeping in mind: “If I learnt one thing from those projects, it was to keep things simple. Reduce the number of variables and you’ll be more certain of success. The same goes for collaborations – stay with what the manufacturer does best, but change one thing that they either didn’t think of, or didn’t think was commercially viable.”
Thanks.
John

Geeohs

I like to wear my jackets open. I think the gilet is practical because it provides some warmth, especially against the wind, while allowing me to keep my jacket unbuttoned.