Cifonelli bespoke suede jacket Profile

  
This finished suede jacket from Cifonelli shows the beautiful breadth of what bespoke tailoring can do. 

Bespoke is not just for business suits; it is not just for casual jackets; it is for anything that benefits from hand-cut line and structure. 

I always say – have always said – that the most important thing about a suit is fit, and a perfect fit is what you get with a bespoke suit.

In the same way, a bespoke-cut suede jacket like this is immediately separated from anything jacket-like made in suede or leather that is bought off the peg.

The line through the chest and waist is different – elegant, flowing. The shoulders and sleeve are precise. The back is smooth and even. 

Of course, suede is never going to fit in the same way as wool. It doesn’t have the natural stretch and drape. You can’t steam it and shape it to the same extent. 

This means that wearing it is never going to have the same comfort as other tailoring, but it is again noticeably better than anything off the peg. 
  

Cifonelli bespoke suede jacket

  
After a few months of fittings back and forth between here and Paris, I couldn’t be more pleased with the end result. The fit is great and the finishing – as you’d expect from Cifonelli – is superb.

There is something really special about seeing a Cifonelli Milanese buttonhole in suede, not to mention the other beautiful buttonholes, the silk top-stitched lining, and the swelled edge around the lapels and front edge.
  

Cifonelli bespoke suede jacket Buttonhole

Cifonelli bespoke suede jacket Button

 
The only things I don’t like, and we are now changing, are the length and the roll at the top of the sleevehead.

The length was a hard one to judge at the fittings, as we wanted it to be a little shorter than a regular sports jacket, so that it worked better with casual trousers like chinos. But I think we went slightly too far, and we will add about an inch from the shoulders. 

Adding that length from the shoulder will have the added benefit of moving the waist button down by the same amount and lengthening the lapel – which feels a little short at the moment as well. 

The shoulder was meant to be very natural, but currently has a little touch of rope. Lorenzo is softening that too. 
  

Cifonelli bespoke suede jacket Back copy

  
I wouldn’t have anyone but Lorenzo Cifonelli make something like this for me, largely because he is such a master of different materials and techniques.

His tailors have been working with suede and leather for a long time, and it is nothing therefore to alter a jacket like this from the shoulder and be sure of leaving no mark. I may not always like his designs, but his technical expertise is unquestionable. 

The colour of the suede was interesting. It’s actually not as bright and rich as the pictures suggest (blame a sunny day). And not the classic, tan suede you would see in Ralph Lauren or other preppy outfitters. It is a little more muted, a little less saturated. 

But I’m coming to like that colour more than the classic one. It’s subtler, and more versatile as a result. You don’t have to worry that with an Oxford button-down shirt and some pale trousers, you’ll look like a Loro Piana ad. It’s also less formal, and better with denim.
  

Cifonelli bespoke suede jacket Sleeve

  
Price: €5500  

Also worn here: 

  • Chambray button-down shirt from Luca Avitabile
  • Wool/silk pocket square from Drake’s
  • Pale grey flannel trousers from Anderson & Sheppard
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
67 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rafael

really nice. makes me want to commission one asap!

Gus

Chapeau. Would you ever wear a tie with this jacket, though?

Frank

Interesting project, really, and a great result. How does a suede jacket withstand the elements? How has it to be looked after? And how will it age, e.g. will the elbows become scuffy? Are you mainly going to wear it inside or outside? Also, will you wear it with an overcoat? Sorry for asking such basic questions, never have had a suede jacket myself, contrary to a leather jacket you cannot wax or grease it, can you?

Dominic

Very unusual, but undeniably beautiful. That’s tremendous work. Just make sure you don’t go out in the rain!

Nick Inkster

Beautiful looking coat Simon. I would have a slightly lower buttoning stance, but that’s just personal,taste. I imagine that it wears very warm though?

nick inkster

I think that, if you have to pass a coat up or down through the back or front once it is finished, then it hasn’t been balanced properly at the baste stage. For that money, it’s a big fail. And in doing so, you get the gorge compromised. Shame.

nick inkster

But I suppose that is my point. If you don’t get the length/balance right at the baste, but have to go back and alter it once finished, then the whole thing is compromised, even if you manage to get it right eventually. There is no inlay at the front of an SB coat, so it needs to be right from the start.

John

Personally, I do not think it would be a good idea to lower further down the button. As its stands, there is a striking balance that to me should be maintained.

Anonymous

Absolutely beautiful, Simon!

Rob

Wow, I have to admit I was cynical of this at the fitting stage, but it is truly beautiful. I will keep telling myself I would never wear it, so I definitely do not need one!

I know I will be in the minority, but I like the length of the jacket, I think it does need to be a bit shorter than a regular jacket, but I’d agree on the buttoning and the lapel length.

Hope to see this in the wild sometime…

BespokeNYC

Absolutely stunning jacket Simon – true Cifonelli craftsmanship. Have to admit, I’m slightly struggling to imagine getting much use from it; as you say, it’s probably more of an outerwear piece, but then I expect you’d still want to wear a jacket once you got indoors (seems too smart to wear with more casual outfits.) Would you ever wear it with a sweater or waistcoat so you still had another layer for when you took it off? Would be very interested to hear more about how you end up wearing it as the material is absolutely beautiful and I love the idea of tailored clothing in suede suede.

AO

Absolutely outstanding and without question the most beautiful thing I have seen you commission on this blog.

The fit, details and suede you chose are all perfect. Truly aspirational clothing.

Nigel C

Beautiful. I like the length as is too. If I’d EUR5,500 looking for a home right now this would be it! N
BTW Nothing wrong with looking like a Loro Piana ad in my book!

Lisbon Clubman

Hi Simon,

Congratulations! Great achievement and a superb cut! Brings to my memory another suede jacket from Galeries Lafayette that my grandmother presented me on my 16th birthday, a bit “soixante huitard” and definitely without the masterpiece touch of this project but, nevertheless, the same suede jacket style sweet memories!

John

Hi Simon,
This is truly an amazing jacket! Honestly, I had to see the pics with my own eyes in order to believe that a leather jacket could fit that way!
Cifonelli is a great MASTER indeed!
John

Anonymous

Simon, head over to Parisian Gentleman. You may see something you recognise….

Anonymous

An exceptional piece Simon, surpassing all early expectation. Congratulations to you and Cifonelli. A couple of comments if I may. Firstly experience with my own leather jackets confirms that, over time, they conform to the shape of the wearer – not dissimilar to wool but with a much more lasting (and unpressable) effect. Secondly it has a very definite, current, fashion shape. If you were looking to re-visit the design philosophy I wonder whether a jacket that could button to the collar (3 + 1 button) would have endured more esp. in winter months (looking at the forthcoming changes to men’s fashion silhouettes looser, wider cuts are making a return). Lastly I maintain that it is a superb piece but am interested in the cloth and colour combinations that you might match it with…could you please post a few images once it is worn in earnest?

Bruce B

“I always say – have always said – that the most important thing about a suit is fit,” I agree. Which brings me back to a topic I asked you once about a trend where men wear their jackets so tight they pull and wrinkle the jacket. This look is distracting. Your eyes are drawn to to it. When I see this I think either the person has gained weight, it’s a hand-me-down or they can’t afford decent clothing. Another problem is I see is men constantly pulling on there jacket to close it. It’s the same when women wear a skirt to short and are pulling it down when it rides up. No matter what the style of the day is, one constant has always been the fit of the clothing. Clothes make the man, but the fit says what kind of man.

David

Without doubt a fabulous piece of work.
That said I find it totally impractical and to say it will wear hot is probably the understatement of the decade. It would have me sweating like a bull in a sauna.
For this reason it fails my PS test – for true style things have to have form and function – otherwise things are just display pieces.

Sich

Nice for what it is, but I suspect you’ll wear it only for 1 or 2 seasons.

Josh

Amazing, I suspect one would find opportunities to wear this! It’s disingenuous to suggest it’s not functional. Sure, it might not be a first commission but as the latest in a long line it certainly has its place. In my experience good quality suede stands up to rain much better than is commonly thought. I would be very interested to see how this looks down the line though, particularly in its shape and the condition of the suede.

BespokeNYC

Josh, agreed, I think the aging will be key; right now it looks very polished (which might be why I’m struggling to imagine it with more casual outfits that don’t require a jacket) but, with a bit of wear and a good patina, the look will hopefully soften and will be a great midpoint between a casual bomber jacket and more formal topcoat.

Anonymous

Won’t lengthening from the shoulders lower the armholes, as well?

Anonymous

I wonder whether it might actually be best to dress the jacket down and pair it with smart denim. Historically leather/suede wear is not just outerwear but outerwear sportif. Therefore matching it with flannel or wool may not necessarily translate its true essence. Suede poses even more challenges as it is generally used for accessories (belts, bags, gloves) and footwear. Suede’s currency as a versatile garment beyond smart casual therefore requires careful thought. I accept that I may be wrong but am genuinely interested in how this garment might be best worn and utilised.

Christopher

Beautiful piece, Simon. It must smell sublime.

I’m interested to read about the adjustments; are most tailors happy to revisit something and adjust?

(I ask because the collar of a suit gapes a bit, and I’m wondering if that’s an easy request- would you know?

Anonymous

Thanks! Good to know.

twitter_rebron

That’s a lot of money for a jacket. Wow.

Titus

Superbly made and well structured for suede. The Le Pels are beautifully cut. My preference would have been for flap pockets with a slant.

Ben

Been following this one closely. The fit, besides the length, is impeccable. But it doesn’t convince me of the value of a suede—or, indeed, any leather—blazer. The material just doesn’t match up with the formality of a blazer, though I’m of course not socialized into the same community as Simon.

I’d be very interested to see it after a few dozen wears and paired with denim—denim and that Elia Caliendo blazer made of vintage tweed is still one of my favorites looks ever posted up on this blog.

kmartin

I have never seen a review of sport coats made from bamboo. For example the Portofino bamboo fabrics that Huddersfield Fine Worsteds sell online. Do you have an opinion about how the bamboo fabric tailors and how crease resistant it is? How would bamboo compare with linen or fresco as a warm-weather fabric?

Thank you

Ben

It’s absolutely stunning! Simon, can I ask where I can source these suede for a CMT with my tailor?
Would love to make a suede jacket for the fall season!

Anonymous

My experience is that the best suede is from veal. But it proved very hard to source the same as the one used by Hermes and Tom Ford (probably the former and Zegna own their tannery). I sourced from french leather merchants to replicate a TF suede jkt, but they had no clue where to source skins that were so “hard while thin” (one needs some rigidity when it comes to a jacket) and so clean on the rerverse (the TF jkt was unlined). Heard such veal suede skins came from Italy.

Ash

Hi Simon

Great piece on suede jackets – I have one which I have owned for years but never really worn, I would like to bring it back out but it needs some alteration work (it needs sleeves and waist) – as you say above traditionally tailors need more specialised equipment to work with leather and suede – do you happen to know anyone who would take on such work?

Thanks

Nick Hand

Hello Simon, I hope you’re well.

Without doubt this is a beautiful jacket, and while it might only get a dozen outings every winter, you’ll be doing so for the next 30 years. Around €10 a wear seems pretty good value in my book.

I have a question about styling if I may; your thoughts on the 1 button sleeve, and the reasons for choosing so? A quick search through the blog shows very few (I counted 3 including this suede) with 1 button out of what I imagine to be an extensive jacket wardrobe. I have a new tweed commission about to be cut, and the idea of a 1 button sleeve came to mind (all of my suits and most of my sports coats have 4 buttons) and I’m interested whether you really like that as a look? (and indeed actually asked for it or whether the tailors in question just did it of their own accord?)

Please keep up the good work with the blog; the quality of reporting and attention to craft keeps getting better, and more informative & useful

Regards,
Nick.

Desmond Merrion

No denying It’s a nice coat Simon.

As a UK tailor that actually cuts and makes bespoke coats in suede, I can appreciate the work that Cifonelli has put into this, and it shows.

I don’t get many requests for bespoke suede coats, however the most recent one I made was last year (2015) for a client in his mid 60’s…….. he was probably the coolest client I’ve ever had walk through my door. No name dropping, but he’s an old rocker…….!

He chose a darker tan brown colour suede, and almost identical style, but opted for jetted pockets not patch. They aren’t an everyday request I get, but when I am asked I do enjoy making bespoke pieces in suede for my clients.

sarah french - fleming

I’ve owned, worn, loved and travelled in a suede car coat 3/4 length for years. It has lovingly faded from a smoked green towards an ash smoke color. It is the perfect weight for the British Isles but was also perfect in Morocco, ooo nice suede pieces sourced there , must say. I suspect the coat was Austrian originally perhaps commenced its life in the Northern Italy tanneries…I’ve had the lining replaced twice. You will not regret SC!

CDB

That jacket is a dream-and the process is fascinating! Over time it will only get better (and more loved) I expect.

PATRICK

There we go! Sorry about that!

I just read the post about the Cifonelli suede jacket and a question rose to mind: is the jacket structured? Does it have lining? I remember reading that Stoffa used cotton for their linings. Did Lorenzo use cotton aswell? (Sorry I asked that here. But I want to have a suede jacket commisioned and I dont know what to do about the lining)

Cheers Simon!!

PATRICK

Thank you for taking the time to answer this Simon.
Silk it is.

The tailor has been pretty insistent I go for cotton (cant fathom why) but I remain adamant on using either silk or viscose at the very least. I think I’ll boil to death with cotton. Thanks again!

Alex N.

Simon,
I saw that you have changed the shoulder of the jacket. It looks so much better now. It makes sense as a casual jacket. The Cifonelli shoulder was too formal for it (in my eyes). Great job. Tailors should really emphasize and be clear about what they are able and comfortable to do. The typical Cifonelli shoulder isn’t for me as it’s too showy, but I would be happy with their other option.
All the best,
Alex

Fernando

How is this jacket doing? It would be cool to see how it has aged

Fernando

Sad to hear. I can feel the pain of making bad decisions in such a luxurious piece. As they say you live and your learn

Ferdinand

What style choices did you regret in the end (as the jacket looks fairly generic to me)? Or just that it’s too tight for today’s taste?

Damian Viccars

Hi Simon,

I work in an office where a jacket and shirt is increasingly a perfectly acceptable alternative to a suit for almost all occasions. But I’m wondering whether there is something fundamentally different about a suede blazer, that would make it less appropriate in an office, than say an oatmeal coloured blazer in wool, even when cut like yours?

Thanks a lot,
Damian

Damian Viccars

Thanks Simon. That makes good sense. I was trying to justify buying a beautiful Ralph Lauren single breasted suede blazer when I already own a safari jacket in suede. The latter with its pockets and overall styling is perfect off duty wear that fits most daytime casual needs as long as the weather is good. Buying a second suede jacket for similar occasions seems a bit extravagant. Perhaps I will invest in a single breasted suede blazer for smart casual evenings, but then I think I’d want it in navy. Cheers.