The best cloths of Autumn/Winter 2018

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Friday, October 19th 2018
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This is the second post we've done highlighting our favourite cloths from new seasonal bunches. The first, on Spring/Summer 2018, is here.

Unfortunately the bunches come in late in the season, but there's still probably time to use these recommendations for pieces to wear this winter.

And it does at least avoid the situation where I have a jacket made up, write about it in January, and when readers try to get the same cloth, it has sold out.

In these pieces we focus on the seasonal Italian bunches, because they're the ones that will be largely be gone at the end of the season. The plan is to gradually add posts on the broader offerings from other mills too, like the linen guide we did in the summer.

You can read more about the seasonal rotation on that first Spring/Summer piece.

 

Loro Piana

Jackets and trousers bunch

Loro Piana is often a good source for luxurious jacketings, like cashmere and wool/cashmere mixes. Their sense of colour is great, and each season there are interesting new weaves and textures, while always subtle.

This season some of the herringbones are actually relatively stark in contrast, but there are some really nice ones in there too. My favourite was the green herringbone below, N685013 (315g).

The brown/grey shade twill, N685032 (315g), is also very nice - though will require very dark or very pale trousers.

 

Loro Piana N685013
Loro Piana N685032

In the trouser selection there is a great range of colours in corduroy (which could also happily make a suit). They are natural, more earthy tones than you get from English mills or Brisbane Moss.

They are rather light in weight, and I'd generally recommend something heavier for corduroy.

But if you want lightweight, then these work well because of the small amount of wool Loro Piana includes, plus a tiny bit of stretch (and only horizontal stretch - not vertical).

My picks would be from the range of greys, such as N685044 and N685048 (both 350g) below.

 

Loro Piana N685048
Loro Piana N685044

 

Drapers

Lady San Felice/Flannels

I highlight the flannels from Drapers for the same reason as the cords above from Loro Piana: the natural-feeling colour range.

Most flannels are intended for more formal wear, and therefore are pure, colder shades of grey and navy, with the occasional green or brown thrown in.

The Drapers range is light in weight again, but has some lovely casual shades - such as 8955 and 8956 (311g).

 

Drapers 8955
Drapers 8956

Pure Cashmere

Interestingly, the 'pure cashmere' bunch from Drapers is the opposite of the flannels: heavier than average, and sumptuous as a result.

It has a big range of colours in two weights - 15.5oz and 18oz.

Knowing the Italians, that's probably because they intend them for overcoats, but 15.5oz is a great weight for a cashmere blazer. Although it will wear warm, it will also last longer than lighter weights.

In fact, I'm rather tempted by an 18oz navy-cashmere for a jacket (6808, below). It wouldn't be very versatile, but God it would feel nice.

The only other thing about these cashmeres is that they all have the same 'ripple' finish, which makes them feel luxurious but also rather smarter than, for example, the Loro Piana options.

 

Drapers 6808

 

Caccioppoli 

Jackets

I still remember when English tailors started to carry Caccioppoli for the first time. I saw them in Thom Sweeney first, and they were a revelation. Such lovely, casual wools in the winter, and wool/silk/linen mixes in the summer.

This season's collection is a little brighter than usual, and there is less I'd pick out as a result. I've also never particularly liked the donegal patterns that have primary-colour flecks in them - as the ones in this bunch do.

But among the checks there are some subtler options, such as 580126 (320g) which has a subtle purple overcheck running through it. And 580122 (380g)  among the larger checks is also nice.

 

Caccioppoli 580126
Caccioppoli 580122

 

Lanificio Ermenegildo Zegna

Anteprima Autunno Inverno 2018-19

As in other recent collections, the seasonal jacketing range from Zegna is dominated by variations on burgundy, deep green and French blues.

Each page of the Anteprima book has a handful of variations around a theme, like burgundy checks, or plain green wools. The nice thing about this is that you can pick out the most subtle of the options, if that is your taste (as it is mine).

Some of them have quite a retro feel, like 69027 (250g, below), but my favourites are in the section mixing grey and brown checks (eg 69030, 250g).

 

Zegna 69027
Zegna 69030

There are also some nice Zegna jacketings that use 20% of linen in the fibre mix to add some slubbiness.

This is particularly useful when you want a plain-coloured jacket, but a flannel or similar doesn't have enough texture. My pick is the green 69039 (330g).

With the same aim in mind, there are some cashmere jacketings with a chunky weave that add texture, like 69044 (320g).

I wouldn't necessarily highlight anything from the suitings or overcoats as I'd always go for heavier weights there.

 

Zegna 69039
Zegna 69044

 

Ariston

Last in this list is Ariston, which I'm including for the first time following a request from a reader. This also replaces Solbiati, which we included last time but is a linen specialist and therefore more suited to the summer edition.

Ariston has a large range of bunches, a lot of which are very dandy (indeed, that is the title of one of them) and perhaps showy. If that's your taste, and you want something a little unusual, I'd really recommend trying to get hold of them.

As with a fair few Italian mills in recent seasons, they have quite a bit with bouclé yarn. This can create an appealing, natural-feeling texture and stretch, but I dislike it when it's combined with strong colours or patterns. I quite like the Prince of Wales options P082-1 and -2 below, though (both 320g).

 

Ariston P082-01
Ariston P082-02

And, I personally suggested one of the donegals in here to my father, who had it made into a suit by Whitcomb & Shaftesbury (charcoal, A579-16, 320g).

I'd seen it made up into a suit before, and the result in my father's suit managed to be lighter than most donegals and yet not bag or lose its shape.

I'd recommend it as a more year-round version of my jacket from Steven Hitchcock.

 

Ariston A579-16
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Stephen Pini

Simon,

If you happen to take any photos of your fathers suit it would be great to see them, namely because I am interested to see another example of Whitcomb & Shaftesbury and also because I have been a fan of donegal suits but have never had one; I think they are suited to older gentlemen or teachers, hope to be proven wrong.

Stephen

Hugh

I second this on both counts, if your father is so inclined. I have a jacket in a brown version of this fabric which is a favorite – it gets lots of compliments without being flashy which is nice

Gabriel

Great article Simon, alongside this mills and merchants I would include Piacenza 1733. The have some high quality cloth, such as baby llama, cashmere blends. What’s your view on Piacenza Simon?

Thanks.

Gabriel

Indeed, they keep production small and it’s quite hard to find their bunches on British Tailors.

Thanks Simon.

A.

I would add the cotton bunch by Ariston that is full of interesting shades for trousers (15oz).

Will

Your dismissal of Zegna suiting perfectly encapsulates how this site exists in its own parallel universe. In the business world most people still work in, the high-end zegna cloth will be worn by the decisionmakers in the room.

GONZAGUE

I tried Zegna Trofeo Summer 20 years and still remember it as great (and the suit is not worn out). Wondering about their winter version (245g). Do you just prefer heavier cloths as stated or is there more against it?
I also tend to prefer such vertically integrated firms, who spend on innovation.

Gonzague

Great cloths but it seems they leave it to the italians to innovate. My take is that it is easier to innovate when you control the whole process.

Anonymous

Ha! Well retorted.

Gonzague

Ripple finish: is it like the H&S Khan cashmere cloths,i.e. more shiny and kind of moiré? I have always feared that a) these would shine too much and b) become hairy.
Donegal: I would be interested to know which Donegal may make trousers become baggy (as I may oreder one such suit rather than a mere jacket).

Richard T

Interesting to read your comments on not generally recommending Donegal tweed for trousers (and, therefore, for suits, I suppose), but also on the performance of this specific Donegal in your father’s suit (not bagging and losing its shape), How has your Donegal suit from Dalcuore performed? I ask because although I’m not a huge fan of Donegal tweed in general, I seem to quite like it in greys/charcoal and have been considering it for a suit, alongside other options, particularly flannel.

Richard T

Thanks, Simon. Useful feedback.

David

I like this series. Very useful. We’re now waiting for the english fabrics review for winter jackets!!!

sebastian

whats the best way to clean silk ties?

Sebastian

anyway i could clean them myself?

I live in Jersey Chanel Islands and it isnt really practical to send them to New York to get them cleaned

Hugh 2

Hi Simon, it seems you are more open to corduroy than in the past – what has changed?

Also, any chance of a post on clothes storage at home (organisation and design etc)? Interested in your approach to this (or if this already exists somewhere on PS please point me in the right direction).

Thanks!

Hugh 2

Re corduroy I’m pretty sure you have expressed some reservations in the past re it lacking style in some cases. Perhaps just a matter of connotation in England/the UK and something that can be resolved with sensible colour/wale choices.

Ben R

Do you have any recommendations for weight, wales, and bunches for corduroy suiting? And how to approach the make (English vs Neapolitan for example)? I see the LP you highlight is 350g and you say it might be a bit light. Also what colors have you done in your corduroy suits?

Ben R

Sorry, I would also like similar feedback for moleskin suiting. Thanks!

Ben R

Thanks!

Christos

Hi Simon,

which trousers do you think would go with the Caccioppoli 580122.

I am a little bit afraid that the blue overcheck is restricting here. Or would the common armory (light grey flannel, charcoal, dark green, cream cavalry twill or whipcords etc.), go here as well? What do you think?

Ian A

Just been through a pair of Ralph Lauren Merino wool trousers in about 10 wears! Massive hole in the crotch area and I had only just had the area repaired.

I’ve noticed my work uniform trousers are 54% Polyester 45% Wool and 1% elastane! I can get away with wearing these trousers everyday for several years, i’m Guessing this is to do with the mix. Please tell me who can supply similar mixed cloth? even though i’m Guessing this would not be the most luxurious cloth a bespoke tailor has been asked to cut.

Max

Great article Simon,
I would include in the list the flannels from Bateman & Ogden. I had a look at the bunch and I think there are some very interesting shades.
I’ve chosen a light brown (mustardish) for a jacket and I’m very happy with the final result.
What’s your opinion on the bunch? Think it’s called Bespoke flannels.

Thanks,
Max

eddy

couldn’t find the Draper’s 8956 on either draper’s or vbc website, is it gone?

Jackson Hart

Ditto

I cannot find it either. ‘Possibly delisted for this season?

Justin

Hi Simon-

Do you think the lighter Ariston Donegal would work as an odd (but smart) winter jacket in warmer climates, or is it a bit too crisp and works nicer as a full suit? Thanks.