New York bespoke tailors – Updated
This is a fully updated version of our post from January on the bespoke tailors in and around New York.
The contributions of readers were extremely helpful, particularly those that had used tailors personally, as this is an area with a lot of misinformation. The comments to the post have also been updated and corrected.
Hopefully this is a useful model of post going forward: something that sits between a static but cohesive article and a disorganised but dynamic thread.
The United States has very few domestic bespoke tailors.
There is an older generation - mostly Italian - that is now largely either retired or has passed away; and there are some young tailors trying to revive the craft - but that often lack experience.
Part cause and part effect of this is the number of tailors from England and Italy that travel around the country offering traditional bespoke.
New York in particular has more visiting tailors than any other city in the world: every major name visits at least twice a year.
Most American customers of bespoke therefore use these European tailors given their experience and reputation. When you’re spending thousands of dollars on a suit, and you have access to the best in the world, why would you use anyone else?
However, there are some advantages to using a local tailor. If you miss an appointment, you don’t have to wait for the next visit; if you have a tailoring crisis, someone is on hand to help.
So while I’d always recommend those European tailors to readers first, this post is a summary of the bespoke tailors around New York.
Now, one of the interesting things about New York is that models of bespoke vary more than in countries where there is a deeper tradition of the craft.
Partly due to demands for speed, or for value, different brands skip parts of the bespoke process.
The definition I use for bespoke is that it must involve a personal paper pattern for the customer, revised extensively over multiple fittings; and that functional aspects of construction, such as stitching the chest and the lapel, must be done by hand.
This two-part definition is what is offered by every European tailor visiting the US. So when a reader asks me who in New York offers 'real' bespoke, this is what they mean.
Unfortunately, many US tailors call what they do ‘bespoke’ when it is purely made to measure. There is no pattern development, no functional handwork. This is the primary cause of confusion.
But there are also tailors and brands that do bespoke pattern development, but not the handwork; or pad the chest by hand, but not the lapel. These are greyer areas that don’t arise much in Europe.
Those brands are included in the list below, but lower down, and it is made clear what aspects they do and don’t do.
Their demotion is not to say that they don’t make great suits, or that there aren’t good reasons (such as relative value) for what they offer.
But the first question has to be whether they offer the same thing as the visiting tailors. Then later, separately and hopefully in detail, we can review their offering.
Normally I would only recommend a tailor once I had tried them myself, by the way, which is why such coverage takes a while.
But as I only visit New York once a year on average, this isn’t really possible.
So instead the information here comes from meeting the tailors in person and seeing their work, from confirming details of what they do by email/phone, and from the comments and experiences of readers.
Although this is an updated post incorporating the 100+ comments, I’m sure there will still be tailors missed out, so do please continue to mention those - if you feel you can offer the same information on process and product.
1 Leonard Logsdail
Len Logsdail is probably the best-known bespoke tailor in New York. An Englishman who moved to the US, he has a lovely workshop on East 53 St and recently added his son, Leonard Jr, to the team.
Len has become famous through his film work - for the likes of Robert De Niro, Samuel L Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio - but still makes proper bespoke (often called benchmade in the US) as well as offering a cheaper suit closer to made to measure.
The cut is drapey with a slightly extended shoulder, but closer fitting than Anderson & Sheppard, for example. For those that want an established tailor in New York, and like the style, he will probably be the first choice.
2 Joseph Genuardi, Yosel Tiefenbrun
At the opposite end of the spectrum is a young tailor like Joseph Genuardi, who apprenticed under Joseph Centofanti in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and now has his own operation in New Jersey.
Joseph was at Centofanti for five years, and then went to work at the Martin Greenfield factory in Brooklyn, expanding his knowledge into made-to-measure and becoming involved in TV work like Boardwalk Empire.
In 2016 he quit to set up his own bespoke workshop and now has three people working for him. I’ve met Joseph and seen his work, which is very good. Some of his styles aren’t for me, but the classic tailoring is great, with nice touches like scooped side adjustors on the trousers.
Also recommended by others, in this vein, is Yosel Tiefenbrun - see list at the bottom of this post and comments from readers.
3 Frank Shattuck
Frank is based in Sackets Harbour, upstate New York, but comes to Manhattan to see clients. He has been a tailor since 1982, when he started with the Cesta brothers in Syracuse, but more significantly, trained under Raphael Raffealli in Manhattan - one of an older generation of New York bespoke tailors that is now largely retired.
Frank makes proper bespoke, and does all the cutting and making himself - something many of these small tailors can do, even if they stop doing so when they get bigger.
Frank’s style is English and quite structured, with a particular fondness for country and shooting garments. He also uses a lot of vintage fabrics. You can see from a film made about him by Anthony Bourdain that he is quite a character, but no less talented for it.
4 Dunhill, Thom Sweeney, Huntsman
In recent years, a group of English tailors has set up permanent operations in New York.
Initially, some of those were just showrooms with a salesman. Huntsman, for instance, had a small place with this set up. It made things slightly easier for a client, as they could skip the visit where they picked cloth for a new commission. But it wasn’t possible to drop in any time for a bespoke fitting.
That’s now changed, with Huntsman expanding into a bigger space (above) and having a permanent cutter. And early in 2018, Thom Sweeney did the same when it opened its first RTW store in the US. In fact, Sweeney theoretically has bespoke at two locations at the moment - in the West Broadway store and in a little bespoke space uptown.
Dunhill has had a cutter on site for longer, in the Madison Avenue store, though the service has varied over the years. And like all these English tailors, even if the cutting is done on-site, the tailoring work is still sent back to the UK.
5 The older generation: Nino Corvato, Nino Caldarone, Franco Ercole
The last group is an older generation of Italian tailors in New York, many of whom are now retired or semi-retired.
Nino Caldarone (above) is the youngest of these, and still works from his home in New Jersey. Nino Corvato is now 78 and from what I have been told, is not taking on new clients. He was featured in the documentary Men of the Cloth - which is worth seeing if you have the chance.
Franco Ercole (Franco is the son and Ercole the father) have a midtown location and a space in Brooklyn where the work is done. They offer both bespoke and made to measure.
One reader says: “I would describe Frank’s work as having a soft shoulder, healthy lapels, and a slight nip to the waist. If you are a first time customer of Ercole’s it’s worth the train ride out to Brooklyn where the shop is. There is plenty of charm, vintage bolts of cloth and espresso across the street if you need a quick mend on something.”
Many of the others are now either passed on or retired. Raphael Raffaelli closed his shop 10 years ago; Vincent Nicolosi, Tom Wolfe’s tailor, has retired; and Bill Fiorvanti passed away in 2017.
6 Alan Flusser, Mark Rykken (Britches Bespoke), Paolo Martorano (Paolo Style)
The next group of houses all have an intertwined history.
Perhaps most importantly for this article, this is also where we start getting into tailoring that doesn’t fit our full definition of bespoke.
Readers will be familiar with Alan Flusser (below) from his books on menswear, but he has also offered his own MTM and bespoke tailoring for a long time. Mark Rykken (above) started his career with the men’s outfitter Britches of Georgetowne, before opening the Alan Flusser outlet in Washington DC.
When Mark left, he went to run the bespoke and MTM programme at Paul Stuart. Paolo Martorano worked with him there, and when the Paul Stuart service closed recently, he set up on his own under the name Paolo Style. Mark, meanwhile, re-opened Britches with the founder Rick Hindin.
Those are the connections. The bespoke difference is that Paolo (below) has set out to make full bespoke - so full pattern development and handwork - in the same vein as the Europeans.
Britches Bespoke does the same bespoke pattern development and pads the chest by hand, but does the lapels by machine. Mark says he finds it produces a cleaner look and controls the roll better.
And finally I’m told that Alan doesn’t do either part of the jacket by hand, just the bespoke pattern development. But there is a qualification here that I’ve asked him to confirm and haven’t heard back.
It should also be noted that none of these three are cutters, all using outworkers in and around New York.
The cut each of them does offer is quite similar, largely derived from an English drape, although Paolo (above) keeps the shoulder and body line while cutting out the drape in the chest.
7 Manolo Costa, Miller’s Oath, Jake Mueser
This section highlights three more style-driven brands, but which make full bespoke as at least part of their offering.
It’s important to note that all of them are similar to the Paul Stuart/Alan Flusser group above, in that they are not cutters. This is much more common in New York, largely because the customer demand is more for style and a range of making options - so there is often an MTM or custom option as well as the full bespoke.
Whether that matters to you is more personal. There will certainly be some fans of bespoke who would rather deal directly with the cutter - as they would with Len, Frank or Joseph.
The variation in making options also reflects the demands of US customers for speed of delivery. While traditional bespoke includes a fully hand-padded chest and lapel, for instance, there is definitely an argument that this work is not worth the extra time and money it requires.
So Miller’s Oath can do full bespoke handwork, but most customers opt for the machine make as it’s so much cheaper.
It’s also no coincidence that all these makers have more style than the traditional tailors. Manolo’s is perhaps more Italian and formal, and Kirk Miller’s younger and more preppy, but both have more design awareness than almost anywhere on Savile Row.
Manolo Costa and Jake Mueser do make a full bespoke, fully hand-padded product from what I’ve seen (which is images of fittings and the inside of finished garments).
However, Mueser also offers MTM, which can cause confusion as to whether the full bespoke is the real deal. And Costa does a unstructured jacket with no padding or canvas.
Again, I’m sure there will be bespoke customers who would rather have something made by a tailor that does only that. They would be best looking at the first few options or the visiting Europeans.
This is a section purely for tailors that readers have suggested and recommended in the comments below. They are listed here for ease of reference.
“Another young tailor worth mentioning is Yosel Tiefenbrun. He trained at the Savile Row Academy and worked for Maurice Sedwell. He is known as the “Rabbi Tailor”. His clothing and young family are chronicled on http://rabbitailor.tumblr.com His workshop is in Bushwick, Brooklyn.”
“Eric Jensen of Sartoria Jensen may be a consideration for some. I know he apprenticed for Despos here in Chicago for several years before relocating to NYC. His site is very specific that his services are full-bespoke and not MTM.”
“David Reeves is another who runs a bespoke tailoring who should be mentioned here. He worked for bespoke tailors in London before coming to New York and opening his own shop, now in Union Square. Like some of the others you have mentioned, he is not a cutter. His suits are in a more structured and modern style compared to the more drape-focused English-style tailors that tend to be in New York.”
“Craig Robinson in Williamsburg is a great Bespoke tailor and cutter.”
“Rossi took my guidance very well and even my most critical “bespoke aficionados” friends in Europe appreciate his work when they see me wearing it. If you know exactly what you want and are willing to give clear guidance during the fittings, Rossi is your man in NYC. www.rossi-bespoketailor.com.”
From what I’ve seen (photos of fittings and the inside of a finished garment) it’s all bespoke.
Have you gotten anything commissioned by him? I have.
I’ve been a client for over 4 years, and I must say I was a little skeptical at first, but was proven wrong. I now own over 20 suits by him, I live in London and every two months when I am in NY his shop uptown is definitely a stop. I had 4 fittings, beginning with a basted try-on. I’ve been lucky to keep the weight off so my size hasn’t changed much so the commissions now run much smoother. I would also like to ask you what your definition of bespoke is? I am very curious. I’ve seen my own pattern at Manolo’s atelier in Brooklyn, and I own his garments so I can confirm is Bespoke.
On a separate note, Have you gotten anything ever made in NY? Thank you for your time.
I’ve had a jacket and a pair of trousers made by Manolo Costa and they were fantastic.
The jacket was completely hand-made. I cannot recommend him highly enough.
I’ve heard good things about a guy called Bill Fioravanti.
Thanks. I’m afraid Bill retired a while ago and then passed away more recently.
Silly me, I actually missed that bit by skimming through. Although I’ve never had anything tailor made by him, I’ve been reading about him for 20 years as one of the finest tailors in NY. He was always referred to as the Power Suit Tailor which I’ve never really understood what Power Suit really meant.
Joel, a power suit , or a 57th suit, is ( was ) an unapologetic suit for a powerful businessman or statesman type. It was a structured coat with a heavier shoulder pad , high vents and rope sleeves. Henry Stewart, Bill Fioravante and Tony Maurizio made power suits. If look at Lee Marvin in “Gorky Park” you will see Henry Stewart’s magnificent work. That’s a power suit.
Of the Row tailors, Edwin and Matthew, and Hitchcock, are regular visitors.
Nicholas D’eath from Dege and Skinner make trips 3-4x/year throughout the US. Work has been superb
Old Henry is a personal favourite, and also highly regarded by Alden.
Old Henry and Frank are one and the same, no?
Does anyone take Michael Alden and his London Lounge forum seriously? His cloth club and Sicilian bespoke prices were very expensive (double, triple or more) compared to the prices charged by the main Scottish mills and other Sicilian tailors.
I am not familiar with his Siciian bespoke but the cloth club fabric has been fantastic imo. It is a bit expensive but you rarely see the heavy weight tweeds, cashmeres, etc. that he offers unless it is a very old vintage cloth. Fox Brothers is probably the closet in terms of their heavy weight cloths but their prices are comparable to Aldens.
I take Michael seriously.
The LL cloth is fairly priced for what it is – it is significantly different from the normal run of the big mills : much more substantial and consequently more expensive. The aim is to make it the old fashioned way – and demand for that is niche. But it’s my kind of niche.
As to what tailors charge, there seems only a tenuous correlation between price & service across the civilised world. A skilled tailor who you trust, treats you as an individual, and who wants your business, is worth any amount of money in GBP, USD or HKD.
You pays your money and takes your choice.
William Field II took over for his father in their Washington DC traditional bespoke tailor shop. The older Field emigrated from London where he trained, thus the name of the firm is Field English Custom Tailor. Will worked for his father and then went over to work at Gieves and Hawkes before returning to take over the family business. They’ve been in DC for over 50 years.
Another recommendation for Will. Excellent alternative for those looking for true bespoke in the Washington, DC, area.
Will has made several sport coats and suits for me. His work is outstanding.
Another recommendation for Will. I have suits, sport coats, and shirts made by him, and the quality is second to none.
Great to see some coverage of tailors in North America. Thanks for trying to put something together. Hope there’ll be more in future years covering other parts of the U.S.A.. and maybe even Canada someday.
Suggestion: Might be useful to define “proper bespoke” in the article. I assume it means a largely handmade garment, using a unique paper pattern for the individual, and multiple fittings to refine the fit until the final product. However, it is less clear if it is a hand padded chest, or if there is anything else to your definition.
Sure. I define it by both – the unique pattern and fittings, and fundamental hand work like a hand-padded chest, lapel etc
Great website and my first post. I have been going to Martin Greenfield for years including when Joseph Genuardi was there. My first experience with custom suits, but they are (to my knowledge) MTM. I wear suits daily for work and would like to ask your advice.
A few questions.
1. Would you recommend Steven Hitchcock for a novice to bespoke? I have never used a traveling tailor. How many fittings are typically involved?
2. What about the downtown NYC tailors such as Duncan Quinn and others?
3. How does Martin Greenfield compare to bespoke makers?
Run, don’t walk, from Steven Hitchcock! He’s living off his father’s reputation, however, the younger Hitchcock made me a suit that was unwearable.
Hitchcock does very good work, and is one of my go-to sources. Worth a look.
Bill Fiorvanti closed his shop years ago, and he passed away shortly thereafter. He had a thriving shop on West 57th Street between Fifth and Sixth. He was a Roman style tailor, and he catered to a wealthy, power clientele. He would be categorized as an establishment tailor.
Raphael also closed his shop about ten years ago. I believe that he retired fully. He can be seen at the end of the video that Anthony Bourdain made regarding the purchase of a Frank Shattuck suit. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jks5VHQ9Q0o
By the way, Rapahel was in an old office building on Madison and 53rd which housed many tailors. The building was “redeveloped”, emptied-out, and demolished. A few tailors moved and carried-on elsewhere, such as Tom Wolfe’s tailor, Vincent Nicolosi (now retired). Other tailors simply retired.
Many of the tailors are concentrated around Madison Avenue in the 40’s and 50’s since that is the heart of the midtown business district. E.g., Nino Corvato has his small workshop on Madison, Alan Flusser is off Fifth, and Leonard Logsdail has his lovely shop and workroom off Fifth down the block from that demolished building of tailors.
I have used both Alan Flusser (my introduction to custom clothing) and his former partner, Mark Rykken. Both are fine clothiers and fine gentlemen.
It is encouraging that some younger tailors are getting into the business, i.e., Joseph Genuardi and Paolo Martorano. Joe fitted me at Greenfield. I knew Paolo for years. Both are fine gentlemen.
Another young tailor worth mentioning is Yosel Tiefenbrun. http://www.tiefenbrunnyc.com. He trained at the Savile Row Academy and worked for Maurice Sedwell. He is known as the “Rabbi Tailor”. He clothing and young family are chronicled on http://rabbitailor.tumblr.com His workshop is in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
On that note there have been tailors opening in areas outside the mainstream Madison Avenue corridor, E.g., I encountered a bespoke shirtmaker, The Hop, in NoLita on Elizabeth Street. They sell bespoke and RTW shirts and socks. http://www.thehopenyc.com. One note of caution is that some of these clothiers advertise their product as “bespoke” or “custom” when it really is MTM.
There also are scattered over New York, mostly Manhattan, some neighborhood tailor shops which mostly handle alterations but also can turn-out custom clothes. E.g., a friend uses an elderly Korean tailor, in the East 60’s to make his suits. My friend swears by him.
Fantastic, thank you Mark
Rory Duffy is worth a look. Not sure where he is based now but he is a classically trained Row tailor who set up in NYC a few years back.
I was told he wasn’t in NYC anymore. Readers, please correct me if I’m wrong.
By the way, the post will be updated next week to reflect all comments.
Rory is back in Ireland now
Are you sure Bill Fioravanti has passed away?
Bill Fioravanti’s obituary was sadly in the New York Times two years ago. He did excellent work.
Bill Fioravanti died in October of 2017.
He closed the business.
The website is still up so I thought it might have been a mistake, shame.
I believe the trouble with NY bespoke really lies with the lack of understanding the local customer does possess. There is NO bespoke tailor based in NYC who if transplanted to London, would merit a mention. Some of the previous generation were great, however they have long ceased to accept new garments. Young and inexperienced tailors with less than 5-10 years experience are calling themselves masters and charging $4k and up. In London they would still be working as an apprentice, in Napoli a 24 year old working at Kiton on 25 euro an hour has more experience. Most of the MTM programs mentioned make their clothing in either MG or AJ, however their quality reviews differ greatly by some who claim to “be in the know”, which says more about the reviewer than the suit. Manolo sells suits that are 50% machine made. Lovely, but not bespoke. You can not find a picture of a customer wearing a suit from this young lad Tiefenbrun, which leads me to suggest that his reviews are formulated by friends and family. He also seems to have very little experience by his own account (under 5 years). Robinson in Brooklyn is an entry level garment devoid of any flair of craft. Len is perhaps the only individual of note, however he can only dream of producing a garment of international repute such as cifonelli/Anderson and Sheppard/London House.
Genuardi seems to sell an honest product, but again no flair or display of character.
Duncan and Reeves both ship their work off to overseas production points and specialize in fitting them locally. Not sure if that works for Simon, but it’s not much different to what Sweeney and Huntsman are doing locally. It’s a sad state of affairs here. I do believe in the years to come some of the younger tailors will develop into much greater candidates, but at this point spending 4K and up with a young local based tailor with 5-10 years experience seems a waste when you have Neapolitan heavyweights popping in every three months and seeking much less coin. My advice to my fellow New Yorkers is to find a well made custom tailor such as Michael Andrews, Reeves, Flusser, and forget about bespoke. Utilize the visiting tailors when in need of a bespoke garment. Better to have a well made custom/mtm garment than an expensive but low end bespoke one.
Very astute comments. The question of why no NYC tailors are talked about in the same terms as the English and Italian tailors is telling and should be understood. Is it just ignorance on the public’s part or a genuine difference in skill.? Your comments clearly indicate it is the latter.
I second every and all James’s comments. It is simply not worth it to spend that amount of money in NYC and its sorroundings, even with the “relatively” big and famous names above mentioned.
Duncan Quinn doesn’t ship anything off to be made.. not sure where you found that information but is actually incorrect. He has one master tailor who works for him here in New York, where everything is hand done. It is actually true bespoke, and 100% made here, nothing about it is outsourced overseas.
He most definitely has in the past. I believe he used Greenfield for a while. He does have an in-house tailor too.
James – when you say there are Italians who come into town for much less every three months, who would you recommend? What range for make?
What about Beckenstein bespoke? I havn’t tried it myself but read that Steven Tabek is one of the top bespoke tailors in NY with an impressive client list.
I was told it wasn’t bespoke. Certainly he didn’t train as a tailor. Happy to have that proved wrong though
Beckenstein is certainly not bespoke. Made in China as well.
Who exactly is telling you who does and does not do “bespoke” in New York Simon?
I used a number of sources – talking to friends in the industry and customers I knew of bespoke, both visiting New York and ones based there, most of whom had looked around at the different options. Some I had visited over the years, such as Logsdail, and I saw several more on a recent trip specifically for the piece, such as Genuardi, Rykken etc. I also knew I could rely on the comments of readers.
May I jump-in on Joshua’s question?
I cannot write about Mr. Hitchcock in that I never used him although he was recommended to me by a esteemed Savile Row tailor as the genuine article. I had used Davies & Son of Savile Row for a good number of suits and odd coats and trousers which I am still wearing after many years. In my experience with Davies, a suit could be delivered in three months. I used them exclusively in their visits to New York.
Davies visits four times a year. Therefore, you get measured at visit one. In a month or two, you have a basted try-on at visit two. I have never had a need for another fitting. The suit is finished and mailed to you. All told it takes about three to four months.
From my personal experience and from my readings, it seems a minimum of two visits is necessary, i.e., the initial visit and the basted try-on. If you are a difficult fit, then a third visit might be needed. But I cannot imagine going beyond three fittings. The visiting tailors are all professionals, and they know how to make a suit that fits.
If the tailor comes four times a year, there is a shorter wait. I think that most come three times a year. If you use a tailor who makes only annual visits, you will have a long wait.
As for downtown tailors, such as Duncan Quinn, I have no experience. Many of these newer tailors and clothiers have their clothing made by Martin Greenfield, Adrian Jules, and other workshops. Some state that they have their tailor or workshop off the premises. Perhaps yes, and perhaps no. Typically, no. You may get a wonderful suit from one of these establishments, but it is a rare shop indeed which makes a suit from “scratch” in a workshop in the basement.
As for Martin Greenfield, they make an excellent suit. I am a happy customer, and I recommend them. They started coming to the Mark Hotel once a week for customers do not want to travel to the Brooklyn factory. The pricing is excellent, and it is an excellent value. A suit will run about $2,000 or so depending upon the cloth. A “bespoke” product can run $4,000 +, usually $5,000 +. When I last priced Davies the price was $6,000 +.
The Greenfield suit does not have all of the handwork of a “bench made” suit from a traditional tailor of Savile Row. I would say that my Davies suits are more structured. They are built like a Rolls Royce.
A bespoke suit has its own signature, feel, and look. E.g., the all important shoulder. There are also workmanship differences. E.g., fully hand padded lapels and collars versus machine padding. There are also little details, such as finer buttons, and handmade buttonholes. Also, one make feels and looks different from another.
In my general experience, there are customers who want and are willing to pay the full bespoke price. They cannot fathom getting a garment that is not made specifically for them, and they dismiss MTM as unacceptable.. Then there are other customers who are very happy with the MTM’s and who look terrific. To each his own.
Thanks Mark, very helpful.
Martin Greenfield is not making bespoke though, as defined in this site and above, and so these downtown tailors are offering MTM, great though it may be
Rory Duffy is no longer in New York. I believe that he returned to Ireland.
Thank you Mark
David Reeves is another who runs a bespoke tailoring who should be mentioned here. He worked for bespoke tailors in London before coming to New York and opening his own shop, now in Union Square. Like some of the others you have mentioned, he is not a cutter. His suits are in a more structured and modern style compared to the more drape-focused English-style tailors that tend to be in New York.
Reeves doesn’t do bespoke. He may claim he does, but it is all MTM.
A cursory look at my Instagram should be evidence enough our work is not MTM.
David- your IG account isn’t very good evidence at all. It is pictures of mostly finished garments. Maybe a basted fitting. I would love to see a “forward” fitting. Any MTM can do a basted fitting. Greenfield can do it as could any factory in China.
Simon: I think you get a sense of the NYC scene. Just google “NYC Bespoke” and you will see that every MTM shop in NYC claims to make unique pattern for each client. In NYC it has become industry standard to flat out lie to uninformed clients and claim its bespoke when it is certainly not. Many claim work is done in basement, but won’t show you. And so many claim to do work in NYC, but in truth they make in China at YZ and Red Collar. The lying in the major problem.
Yes, that’s the sense I get. I guess if people can comment on specific visits and experiences that’s a good start
I think this comes down to doctrine and method and there is no cast iron way to make a bespoke suit form start to finish although many try to define what that process should be.
I personally use the Savile row associations definition of what a bespoke suit is, although I admit this is not cast iron either.
specifically on fittings, frankly after 20 years of doing this I do not need to do 5 fittings to get a suit right.
I typically do an initial consultation, basted fitting and my “forward fitting” is usually a pick up/final inspection, so three appointments.
For subsequent orders (because we have an individual client pattern that works) I will usually go straight to finish although I may choose to “hedge my bets” by not buttonholing the garment.
You may think this would not work (it may not for others) but I think the results speak for themselves.
here we have a size 52 client, this is his basted fitting on a custom made form we made to help us with fittings:
Here we have his first fitting:
Final fitting and pick up:
And thats it, pretty simple. Richard James and Timothy Everest only typically did one fitting as well, I cannot speak for other houses but that is their method.
Is more fittings “better” or “worse?” I think fewer is better if you can hit the target although some may “like” the attention of more fittings and feeling more a part of the process.
I hope these links work, but this post I think people would find particularly interesting:
Thanks Dave. I should add that neither Timothy Everest nor Richard James did just one fitting with me.
Oh, and you still haven’t paid your last advertising bill
Well what do I know? I was only the bespoke house manager at Timothy Everest (however brief) both companies may have changed there way of doing things after 10 years as is there prerogative.
I believe David does both MTM and bespoke. He certainly does multiple fittings, including a basted fitting, and uses a unique pattern. Everything looks hand stitched to me. So not sure where the only MTM is coming from. I like his suits very much and he is also a very good guy.
Thank you Nick,
I always say it, but If you want to know if a tailor is good, don’t ask him and certainly don’t ask another tailor, ask his clients.
For clarity I have not done any MTM for about 6 years. There are of course many great bespoke houses in England that have or do continue to do MTM and do it well.
For me it just divided my time and efforts and also created confusion, was this a Bespoke house or an MTM business? I chose the former.
What is your source for this accusation? Reeves is most certainly not MTM, although I believe he used to do a MTM line several years back in addition to bespoke but he no longer does that.
It really is difficult to find someone in Tennessee who can hem pants the same length. Finally found an older lady who does great work (not bespoke by any means but superb alterations). She complains and gives me a hard time but she’s fantastic so I put up with it. A letter from Ulysses S. Grant (before the civil war broke out) warned the southern “elite” that they wouldn’t be able to go to Europe and buy their fancy cloths if a war broke out. Also that the south could hardly make a yard of cloth themselves so they would be doubly screwed. Obviously not his exact words. I guess good tailors have always been hard to come by in the good old USA.
Another NYC-based tailor I’ve heard of is Angel Bespoke. He seems to offer a more modern Italian style for those who are interested. I’ve never used him myself but have relied on traveling tailors, including Solito, Biagio Granata and B&Tailor. Have also used Ring Jacket MTM at their trunk shows through the Armoury. Have generally been happy with the product provided by all, although the customer service has varied.
Angel Bespoke is MTM I believe
Angel Bespoke provides good value with his product. You cannot beat it for the value in my opinion. Customer service is very good too.
I had a suit made by Yosel Tiefenbrun in Buschwik. Very happy with the cut and fit and he makes everything in house .
Simon, thank you for writing about the NYC bespoke scene. I always feel that we are left out of the conversation. But I must say that the article is incomplete without mentioning Yosel Tiefenbrun. I have purchased a wonderful suit and have two sport coat commissions underway. You should visit him next time you are in NYC.
Super, thanks Ben
I would never doubt Mark Seitelman on NY sartorial history!
Some additions – NY has gone from the golden era with several great bespoke tailors to the handful covered above plus many that pretend to have a bespoke product candidly including Flusser, Rykken and even someone like Mark Andrews Bespoke downtown. And while these may be great people, the work product in my personal experience is quite shoddy in terms of fit in particular and their ability to make proper adjustments is also low.
With all the great bespoke visiting tailors, one doesn’t really feel not well catered for.
Of the NY crowd, Len does great work but has become quite expensive. Yosel as mentioned does great work and is much more in line with the cost of a bespoke experience with a good visiting tailor.
Of the visiting tailors, one has their pick of Savile Row, other British houses, French (Cifonelli), Neapolitan, Roman, Japanese and Korean tailors – and probably a few other nationalities I am missing.
With the visiting tailors – again from experience, would strongly suggest one stick with the more established houses such as A&S, Pooles and maybe even Cifonelli – as the independents such as Hitchcock have a more limited ability to fix issues which invariably arise.
Finally, would suggest one stick with houses that have the cutters traveling with them as opposed to the sales people – tailors like Rubinacci for example have a hell of a time in my experience making a well fitting garment as the owners for all their charm know little about how to properly fit a garment.
Though I’ve never tried his services, Eric Jensen of Sartoria Jensen May be a consideration for some. I know he apprenticed for Despos here in Chicago for several years before relocating to NYC. His site is very specific that his services are full-bespoke and not MTM. He has been an outspoken critic of the bastardization and misuse of the term “bespoke” on the forums that I am a part so I would assume he’s the real deal. Training for with Gallo in Italy and then Despos in Chicago would lead one to believe that his style swings more to the Italian cut (though the regional proclivities are unclear).
I have a Sartoria Jensen suit and a sport coat and several pairs of trousers in work. Eric Jensen is a true bespoke tailor. His styling is highly influenced by the Neapolitan style, with a soft lightly structured coat and waterfall sleeves. Having worked in the luxury goods industry for more than 40 years, I feel that this is by far the finest bespoke suit I own!
Simon – I´m starting a wardrobe upgrade this year (my professional wardrobe is more than 10 years old) and thought i´d start with shoes. I would like to pick up a pair of Edward Green Chelsea´s as my first purchase, but will this look strange when worn with my RTW suits (workhorses price range GBP 500-700)
No, not at all. People used to say if you wanted to tell if someone dressed in quality, you looked at his leather and his felt (hat). Just gradually upgrade the tailoring too
If you want to add a hybrid to this list (American bespoke tailor who travels to NYC), then you can add Chris Despos to this list. Or better yet, how about a new article of non-NYC American tailors?
Yes that would be good next. I didn’t include Chris (though I have covered him before and visited) because he wasn’t in NYC
You had a visit once at the Miller’s Oath by Kirk Miller.
Do they offer bespoke ?
On their website it now looks like they lowered their price range a lot for their RTW. Still worth mentionning ?
Kirk does offer full bespoke, but most suits are made with bespoke pattern development, just not bespoke level of handwork – so machine padded chests and lapels.
I’ve had numerous commissions from Kirk over the past 5 years, and have known about his shop for the past 10. He most certainly does full bespoke and is quite good at it. Just one man’s opinion here, but I think this whole article could have used some better research. As it currently stands, it seems as though there are a handful of talented bespoke tailors inadvertently left off the list, incorrectly labeled as strictly MTO, or bespoke tailors who are listed that are either no longer in business or worse yet deceased. Much like the British and Italian tailors you’ve reviewed, perhaps it makes sense to have something commissioned by the NYC tailors and then provide a proper review. This way your readers, most of whom reside in the US (and probably most of that crowd is in NYC) have a legitimate review to go by.
Thanks for your view Kevin.
I take point – there were a couple of points that need to be corrected. I’ve clarified with Kirk that what he does doesn’t actually qualify under our definition of bespoke though, as he doesn’t pad the chest and lapels by hand.
Still, it’s not correct to say it’s just MTM. One of the biggest issues is that the models vary so much in New York, and hopefully that’s something that can be clarified more in the updated version of the article next week.
I noticed that Luca Avitabile no longer appears on the trunk show calendar, does he still visit London?
Yes Andy, he still comes every six weeks or so. He just got the confirmation to us a little late last time. He will be on there next time, with Luigi
Yet another variation for consideration is Duca Sartoriale in midtown. Max Girombelli represents the family workshop in Italy where all the MTM is made. He is knowledgeable, generous and patient, whether you are a first time client as I was a decade ago, or a finicky regular which I have been since then. He especially takes pleasure all the little details that go into the personalization of a garment. I have had the opportunity to try bespoke in Italy, In London and in Toronto but I always find my way back to Max.
Missed but should have been included – see comments above
Thank you for including me Simon. It is a great honor to be mentioned with my mentors. If anyone wants clarification- I do employ my own coat makers and trouser makers. They work off-site due to the NYC codes. However my master tailor who creates all my patterns does come in to do fittings and measure. Frankly I measure most first time customers because I have experience being able to give that information properly to the tailors. It is easier because we are talking about the cloth and style while I measure and clients want my opinion on those. We offer the option for the first fitting using muslin or scrap cloth. Also, if the client would like one coat maker to make the entire coat himself, and do all the fittings, that is also an option. I am very flexible with customers preferences and tastes. I come from four generations of tailors from Italy in my family, and their philosophy has always been that the customer’s body and style is what you are working for, not a house style. I have gained a lot of new business around the US because of that. Customers do not have to worry about convincing me to listen to them. Thank you again for including me. I do hope that the amount of tailors in NY grows again.
Sadly, all the aforementioned bespoke tailors seem to cut more English structured. There is a serious lack of domestic bespoke tailors specializing in soft tailoring in the US. Not to mention the lack of style (boxy, sack cuts with skinny lapels are common).
A shame given the decreasing formality in the workplace.
It appears Sartoria Jensen cuts in soft Italian style, from what I have seen on his instagram @sartoriajensen.
The classic sack suit is more of a RTW item. There was classic American bespoken style around back in the day, but mostly as a Department at J. Press, Chipp, Brooks Brothers… the domestic American taylors focused more on Continental styles as many of them were of Continental ancestry (e.g. Otto Perl). So it is a myth that Classic American Style is a taylor thing. Just look at the bespoke suits of Cary Grant, James Stewart, Errol Flynn etc. Not one sack suit… that does not mean that such a suit shouldn’t be made bespoken. But… I suppose some of those newer younger taylors would do it. All you have to do is ask. “House Style“ is overrated. It is the customer who pays. Best, Dominik
I know very little about them, but I have seen a tailor called Robinson on Instagram, based in Brooklyn – I assume they offer bespoke.
There’s a shop in Jersey City called DeCarlos Bespoke. I haven’t had anything made but I have gotten RTE garments adjusted by him. From what I can tell there is only DeCarlos and one employee. I believe he offers truly bespoke as well as “custom.” He also has a decent collection of vintage fabrics.
Yosel Tiefenbrun deserves a mention. Savile Row trained, beautiful handwork and very passionate about making great garments.
Craig Robinson in Williamsburg is a great Bespoke tailor and cutter.
I have worked with Franco Ercole many times and they are excellent. (Franco is the son and Ercole is the father.) Franco told me his father considers their style as Roman. They also have a midtown location to meet with clients as well as the Brooklyn space. I prefer the BK spot as that is where Ercole works from in the last remnent of Italo Americana.
Another name to check in the we-at village is J. Mueser. Jake and Jonas offer everything from bespoke, mtm and rtw. Great guys and very accommodating! Plus Steven at Leffot is on the same block!
Not sure in regards to your ‘bespoke qualifications’ but think at least one or more of their in house tailors has a dominican background. Either way the work is beautiful., on par with Ercole as far as the finishing.
Eurcole’s suits are below par. Lapels are not hand padded, a lot of machine work involved, and his MTM is Red Collar.
You are correct. He critiqued a coat of mine, I’ll critique his work. I altered one of his creations. It is all fusing and machine work. The fit is far from functional. And I’m Frank Shattuck. My work is my Thank You to my teachers. Boom.
What is Roman style?
My experience with Franco in the midtown location was not good, in client service, attention to detail, and ultimate fit. Despite the unreal convenience of him being 2 blocks from my office, I couldn’t justify going back.
Any chance you could give details of the Jacket, Shirt and Trousers that your’re wearing in Pitti, appearing on your instagram stories at the moment?
Which shot? There has been a different one each day…
It’s the latest one today, tweed jacket denim shirt and yellow/ tan trousers
Green tweed jacket is the Zizolfi I wrote about recently.
Denim shirt is a Sawtooth from Bryceland’s.
Tan trousers are heavy cotton Fox, made up by Whitcomb.
Might have missed this in comments or on website but if you could have a list of MTM in New York, it might help your fans who want an impeccable fit but cannot afford bespoke.
You haven’t missed it, it’s just very hard to do anything comprehensive on MTM as so many people offer it, and it changes all the time. Unlike a bespoke tailor, who I can try, review, and is still offering the same thing years later.
Len Logsdail made a suit for me that was rather unremarkable, except, for the quite remarkably high price. He also outsourced it.
I have known Joe since his days at Martin Greenfield (where they still do a great job ).
I think I was one of Joe’s first customers when he went out on his own and he will not disappoint.
He is a craftsman of the first order and does a spectacular job. The bonus is that he is young and will be around a long time.
Have you ever thought about bringing someone on who could do reviews of american taliors to then be published on your site? If half your readers are in the states it might be something worth while.
It’s a nice idea. I would look at that more, were it not for the fact that most people using bespoke in the US use the same travelling tailors I review from Europe. But still nice to add at some point
Cad and the Dandy are now in New York full time and I’ve been getting all of my suits and trousers from them for the last five years. The quality and service are both first class and their cut fits me perfectly
Rory Duffy — who trained at Henry Poole and won the Golden Shears — is in the New York area.
Peter Frew — who is Archangelo Sartorial, I believe — is also Savile Row trained.
See above Emanuel. Rory is not in New York any more
Wondering what the criteria you are using for this list? Only to say that there are several small shops offering hand made/bespoke clothing that you have glossed over. I agree that New York is a different market to that of say London or Naples but I would argue one has the ability to find American Made hand tailored clothing in New York.
Although pushing the various English tailors who have all recently entered the market is fine you forgot the new Richard James shop and the Italians Attolini, Kiton etc….but a deeper dive on the NY tailors would be great as you might be surprised what is on offer.
I’m just covering full bespoke, with an individual paper pattern refined over several fittings and all major structural work done by hand, such as a hand-padded chest and lapel.
Kiton and Attolini dont offer this, and Richard James does but not from New York – there is no bespoke cutter on site, unlike Huntsman and Thom Sweeney. I’d certainly like to dive more into things at some point, but this is my starting point.
First, let me congratulate you on building a great sartorial platform for men to share their enthusiasm on men’s tailored clothing. I have enjoyed your coverage on Naples and London and have always remained optimistic to learn more about your perspective here in the NY market.
I will have to agree with Kirk, New York promotes ideas that are presented in this part of world by new and experienced talent with an American expression and sensibility. We also tell a story, and there is a lot more to cover. New York is a big city after all.
It is not the first time a client points out a forum where men discuss their passion, it is also not the first time where comments are quick to flow regarding our work, comments without foundation by men who have never even stepped foot in our shop. Comments by actual customers I think would make for a better piece. individuals who have actually had an experience wether good or bad.
Our doors are always open, do come in and say hello next time you are in New York please.
P.S. Let me assure you, We do full Bespoke.
Thank you Manolo.
I visited many tailors as part of the piece, including most listed here, but had been told you did not offer full bespoke. Sorry that I was misinformed. Unfortunately, as of course you have seen, many call themselves bespoke and do not.
Hopefully one improvement on forums and other pieces in this area is that the information can all be added to a single record, by updating the post.
Thanks for the contribution.
Manolo, would you mind confirming for me that your bespoke has a hand-padded chest and lapel? Just because one commenter alleged that you did not, and it is one half of my definition of bespoke being used here.
I would love to see this resolved. I myself have come MC and been told the suits are 50/50 hand/machine by the gentleman who answered the phone. He mentioned they are made in Brooklyn, however the only three tailors of note in BK are Greenfield, Best Customs, and Ercole. Only ercole can produce a bespoke garment, and as far as I understand, he is not making the garments. There is a chance MC has found a small unknown tailor in Bk, however some transparency would go far here. MC is by far the most asteticly gifted curator of clothing in NYC. His finish looks fabulous, just unsure about the production.
Simon, I’ve been very much enjoying your blog for quit some time. Originally from Vienna, where we are still blessed with excellent and affordable bespoke tailoring, I have lived in NYC for more than 20 years and was rather disappointed for the lack of real bespoke tailoring. Only a few years before I moved back to Europe, I got to know Rossi @ 351 1/2 East 54th Street, next to Sutton Place. Mr. Rossi, as he likes to call himself (I have a feeling he is from former Yugoslavia, but for business reasons wants to be recognized as an Italian) , he started out as an alteration tailor and did extremely well, building a huge client base which motivated him to go back to his original profession, bespoke tailoring. Even after many superbly done alteration jobs, I was initially very reluctant to commission him with some bespoke work. After two pairs of trousers and a heavy cotton suit, those were gone. Rossi pays a lot of attention to details and his craftsmanship is of highest quality (of course no glue involved and all buttonholes manually sewn) Over the years I have developed my style (structured classic jackets with very soft shoulders, close to the body and relatively slim trousers) Rossi took my guidance very well and even my most critical “bespoke aficionados” friends in Europe, appreciate his work when they see me wearing it. If you know exactly what you want and are willing to give clear guidance during the fittings, Rossi is your man in NYC. http://www.rossi-bespoketailor.com
Very useful, thank you
It is amazing what has been lost in but a few decades.
I grew up in a small town in Canada, and we had at least 3 Italian tailors that I can easily think of. All had shops with bolts of fabric to the ceiling, and a table, scissors, measuring tape and chalk visible and used.
Even the average working man would have sourced at least one suit for Sunday’s and special occasions from one of these gentlemen…..
All these tailors were first generation, having emigrated sometime before the 2nd world war if I am not mistaken (I wasn’t around for the opening of their shops!)…
Either tailoring as a trade was infinitely more common in the recent past (amazing that Italy was able to stock nearly every town in the English speaking world with at least one good tailor) , or is now in such low demand as to be dying….(to say nothing of every town having a real watchmaker/repair shop, as well as custom chemist instead of a “drugstore”)….Now they are all counted in the handfuls, and only in the largest of metropolitan centres…
Sad, the rush to convenience has left us much more impoverished in the “fabric” of society…
Your post stuck a chord with me living in England. Over a few pints in the Plough, we were brainstorming the tailors in Doncaster that could make a suit for a wedding or your “Sunday best”. In the 1950s there were many, now there a very few – if any. We have recently moved to Shrewsbury that has half a dozen quality menswear outfitters but only one has suitings to select your own material to have your own suit made.
As you say, we are paying a large price for convenience.
My mother practiced tailoring for the family (handed down form her mother, Depression, and all that)…a good chunk of my clothes until I was a late teenager were made by her..
I shudder to think of the number of times I probably rolled my eyes at her orders to “stand still!” as she re – pinned a pattern, or cut fabric for a shirt, or trousers….
Tell someone today that as a child most of your clothes were hand made and they would think you were rich…no, not rich – wealthy is more like it…
that is so well said. I just saw it. One of the best cutters I have ever worked with was Frank Cesta in his little shop on Jefferson st in Syracuse New York. And there were three other Tailors in town also. They all proudly went to the Tailors Convention every year , proudly wearing their what their hands had made.
I have commissioned a suit from Huntsman out of their New York atelier. I can vouch for the extremely high quality and convenience. The suit is excellent and the cutter in residence there, Ralph Fitzgerald, is top notch. The suit is just terrific. I highly recommend the service.
Marc, fantastic article.
However I must mention that you forgot to mention a rising name in the bespoke industry.
I recently got a suit by him.
You should go for a visit.
Based in Brooklyn
All the best.
Can you please provide a link to pictures of yourself in the garment? All reviewers of this tailor do not include images of themselves or body shots of their garments. This is why I doubt their authenticity. His website is beautiful and his pictures look great,too. However they are all on a bust. Not many on a customer. For us discerning chaps, please provide client shots.
Hi Colin. Check his Instagram page. He wears his own creations. Nod bad. Beautiful child and wife too. But again, as expensive as the top (and better) British, Italian, French, Austrian and German tailors (yes, Austrian and German)
Fabrizio, do you have specific knowledge or experience with quality Austrian or German tailors? They’re never mentioned as having similar skill and taste levels as the British and Italians as best I can tell.
What is the price range for a Yosel Tiefenbrun suit?
Around 6.5k for a fully handmade suit
No Cheo? Is he retired?
Good Afternoon Simon. I was curious to know where one can find your recent Robb Report article (Print? Online?).
I think it’s in the last print edition but one – I’ve only seen the proof though, not the printed article yet.
I have used, and continue to use both Frank P. of Ercole’s and Frank Shattuck. Both make a true bespoke garment, and each have their own unique place in terms of aesthetic.
If you are a first time customer of Ercole’s its worth the train ride out to Brooklyn where the shop is. There is plenty of charm, vintage bolts of cloth and espresso across the street if you need a quick mend on something. The Brooklyn location is a true working tailor shop, where you will see tailors making coats and trousers. Also Mr. Ercole, even though he is self described as “semi-retired”, is still in and out of the shop helping out. I would describe Frank’s work as having a soft shoulder, healthy lapels, and a slight nip to the waist. He can make Spalla Camicia shoulders as well on request. The fit and finishing is excellent and is absolutely worth a visit if you are in the NY area.
Frank Shattuck is a single man operation who makes one coat at a time, for one person, start to finish. I am fortunate enough to live a couple hour drive away from his shop in Sackets Harbor, so time between fittings can be turned over rather quickly. Obviously this would be different if he were to travel to NYC for fittings. His work is stout, rustic and unapologetic (as mentioned in the Bourdain video). Things like Flapped chest pockets, bi-swing backs and oversized patch pockets are commonplace. He can and will fit any type of build. If you can, I recommend you visit him, and get a tweed.
Is Mr. Shattuck amenable to making a softer shouldered jacket?
Yes. Both of my coats have a softer shoulder with just a touch roping at the sleevehead.
This is excellent news indeed. Thank you sir!
Thanks for this, it’s a great resource and all the updates in the comments are helpful – I’ve met Joseph Genuardi, he’s a really nice guy and the work is beautiful. Another great resource in NYC (but not strictly tailoring) is Carla Dawn Behrle. She specializes in leather. She does both menswear and women’s wear and I have had 3-4 outerwear pieces made by her ranging from a tailored olive green car coat to a café racer style jacket- and a couple of shirts that I can layer with. All of her menswear is completely custom. I got my first piece in 2007 or 8 and have been back regularly ever since. Her work is outstanding.
Does she work with suede?
After 25 years of working mano y mano with a true ‘Master’, Joseph Centofant (see documentary, ‘Men of the Cloth’), I thought my days of ‘proper bespoke’ were behind me as many of the Masters had unfortunately passed on. Then, several years later, I received a call from Joe Genuardi, a former apprentice of Joseph Centofanti’s, who had ventured out on his own out of an old factory in Hoboken, NJ. I reluctantantly agreed to let this young Master cut a pattern for a single suit and am happy to say the ‘the proper bespoke art form ’ is alive and well! In fact ‘Joeseph Genuardi Mastor Tailor’ suits, blazers, sportcoats, trousers and shirts are now the finest in my closet.
Excited to see you’ve turned your gaze toward US-based tailoring. I can definitely echo Yosef777’s endorsement of Franco Ercole of Brooklyn: I’ve worked with them a couple times and been very impressed with their work.
You mentioned Joe Genuardi, who started with Centofanti in Ardmore. As a local of the Philadelphia area, I can attest that there is a quiet but thriving community of old-school bespoke tailors in the area. A number hail from the Abruzzo region of Italy, and their house styles tend to reflect the Caraceni-esque Abruzzese school of tailoring (i.e. strong shoulders, elongated silhouette, light canvas, etc.).
Sadly, Joe Centofanti passed away in 2011, but others soldier on. Cappelli Tailors of Strafford and D&B Tailors of Newtown Square are two notable examples.
While I’ve never bought from D&B, I’ve gotten two suits from Cappelli. John Cappelli, the owner and cutter, is an amiable character and a blast to work with. He loves talking technique and has a yen for colorful, flamboyant linings. His shop also does MTM shirts and sources custom belts, of all things, from a local artisan.
If you ever find yourself exploring the Philadelphia area, also consider looking up Perry Ercolino, a bespoke shoemaker in Doylestown. I’ve never met him, nor visited his store, but his website boasts some impressive photos of his work. He is said to have cut shoes for several US presidents.
All the best,
Fantastic, thanks TJ
Ah another local Philadelphian! I actually live down the street from Capelli (I used to have my off the rack suits tailored by him before trying D&B) but Gabe at D&B is my go-to. He’s absolutely phenomenal to work with, and is as wonderful a person as he is a tailor. I don’t hesitate to recommend him (and I’m sure you’ve gotten wind of his client list, including Sinatra, of all people.) I’m actually headed to him tomorrow afternoon to discuss my wedding tuxedo!
Can anyone think of a tailor who took his life a few years ago in New York?
If I recall he was middle aged lots of tattoos, a bit of a playboy and apparently very friendly with a lot of celebrities the like of Robert DeNiro.
Might you be thinking of Michele Savoia?
“Several pals of the flamboyant designer — whose clients included Robert De Niro, Ricky Martin, Mickey Rourke and Chris Noth — grew worried and went to his boat to look for him.”
Thanks very much
Savioa. He fell in the river with his fur coat on. One Hell if a character and a nice guy. Worked a lot with broadway shows.
I have purchased over 7 garments from Leonard Logsdail and 5 from Luigi Solito and 8 from Steven Hitchcock and a handful from Tony Martin the head cutter at Dunhill in New York and formerly of Benson and Clegg.
There are all great and pure bespoke in their own way, with their own distinctive style. Tony Martin, a fabulous tailor with an obsession with exquisite finishing, cuts more of a traditional British garment with moderate structure but with complete control and dedication to his craft. He is about 42 years old and will be only getting better.
Leonard Logsdail is equally excellent, with a distinct look and a defined shape. He favors peak lapels on most garments. His commitment to a high standard unflagging.
Steven and Luigi are covered extensively by Simon and they are great, too, and cheaper than Tony and Leonard.
If you are interested in classic American style, something your grandfather or father might have worn, go and get a made to measure suit from Jay Walter at J. Press. Jay takes the old-school, Brooks Brothers sack suit and modifies it. The natural shoulder remains and he and in darts and some gently suppression through the body. The result is a comfortable, classic, American garment that will always work well and make you nostalgic for the golden age of Brooks Brothers. Fully made to measure, nothing bespoke.
I had work done by Tony Martin when he was at Benson and Clegg. Top class. I knew he had joined Dunhill but did not realise it was in NY. I would not hesitate to use him again.
Hi Simon, terrific article as usual. If you consider US tailors outside of NYC, please consider visiting Gian DeCaro Sartoria in Seattle.
Simon I see you don’t respond to every one and did not respond to my prevouus comment. I think Cheo was the best bespoke tailor in New York and wondered why he was excluded. I retired and moved to Florida so I hav not been to Cheo in 15 years.If he is still working, he is well worth considering. thanks for your great blog.
Thanks Richard, I will
Nino (Corvato) is great. He made a pair of trousers for me a couple of years ago and the fit was very good (and we only had time for 1 fitting). Very clean through the waist, in particular. The hand work is high quality and his guys do a nice buttonhole. I got carried away with the cloth and went with too bold of a pattern, so they don’t get much use, but the fit is excellent and you’d be hard pressed to find a more pleasant man. Planning to have him make me a suit (understated cloth, this time around) when I’m back in NY in the next year or two.
I know we are discussing NYC here, but just for everyone to know Riddle McIntyre in Chicago does great work. Mostly famous for their shirts, they make suits and sport coats as well. I have had 1 suit mad by them and it is excellent.
F&R Bespoke does a high quality Bespoke make in NYC
Does anyone have experience with Oxford Clothing out of Chicago? If so, what is your opinion of the quality of the garment? The company says that the vast majority of the work is done by hand,1200 stitches per lapel done by hand and so forth, but I’m skeptical about this claim. Of course it’s a mtm garment, but the claim is that the workmanship is on a bespoke level of quality.
Yes, I. had a MTM overcoat in navy cashmere made by Oxxford via Bergdorfs , which I wore it into Cifonelli in Paris one day. An elderly man who had been at Cifonelli 50 years by then took my coat. When I left the same elderly man went to get the coat.
Before giving it to me, he took it over to the window so he could
get a better look at it. He said” This is a very beautiful coat”in French.
With Simon’s permission, a couple of words about Oxxford Clothes. I have a long association with Oxxford.
Oxxford would not fall within the bespoke tailors covered in this article in that it is produced in a factory rather than a tailor’s workshop. The term factory is a bit of a misnomer in that it really a big workshop with assigned tasks, such as hand padding the collars, constructing the pockets, pressing, etc.
It is essentially MTM although over time one’s pattern becomes very personalized. I would say that the final garment is a collaboration between the retailer and the factory. The retailer has to have a real fitter and tailor on board to place the initial order, fit the suit, and finalize the suit.
The workmanship is the best of any factory made suit. In my opinion it is superior to Brioni, Kiton, and Attollini.
As for comparing it against a bespoke suit made by hand, the workmanship will be similar. Of course, when you go case by case you will find makers with exquisite workmanship unique to that maker., e.g., the Milanese buttonhole of Caraceni Milan. However, a comparison is unfair in that one make has its characteristics and quirks while the other does not.
As for comparing the number of hand stitches and hand operations, this can be misleading. There is a old tailor’s saying that it is not the number of stitches that count but the right stitch in the right place. E.g., a certain high end RTW and MTM Italian brand machine pads its collars although it claims that its suits are made by hand the old fashioned way. I presume that they made a determination that hand sewing does not add to the collar and that machine sewing will do the job. Does that make this suit inferior to Oxxford which hand sews both collar and lapels? You decide.
Also, workmanship is separate from fit and styling. You can have an exquisite hand made suit which is ill-fitting and uncomplimentary.
Thank you Mark, that is very helpful.
In terms of make, could I just check that the chest and lapels are not hand-padded? In my view, while padding the collar by hand is not that crucial (some tailors, such as Poole, have done this for years), it makes a more substantial different in the chest.
This is very useful information and I completely agree that workmanship is separate from fit and style. Given your experience with Oxxford would you please discuss the fit and style of the garment?
I bought several Oxxford suits and sport coats years ago, but got frustrated with the company’s inability or unwillingness to provide models with a more Neapolitan silhouette. Ultimately I took the garments to a superb alterations tailor and she was able to reduce the amount of shoulder padding and rework the shoulder to a more pleasing look. The quality of the workmanship was superb, but the style, at the time, was not on par with the Italians. Based on your comments, it’s probable that the people taking my measurements were not really qualified to do so. Perhaps the smart thing to do is just go to the Chicago facility and have the suit fitted there. I notice that Oxxford has a New York store as well which would be another option as they surely have a qualified tailor there who can do a proper fitting. Of course I’m assuming that Oxxford now offers more modern looking garments. If not, then the garments will continue to be ill fitting compared to the British and Italians, despite the excellent quality of the workmanship.
Oxxford hand pads both the collar and the lapels. It used to advertise the number of stitches (purely an average) in a booklet that used to accompany each coat. It is one of the few makers who hand sews both. The film mentioned below shows collars and cuffs being hand sewn and the great number of stitches involved.
I cannot address how the chest canvas is sewn. It is a soft canvas that molds to the body.
There are some unique elements, such as the sewing the sleeve to the body. I cannot provide the specifics. Oxxford’s signatures include interior bellows pockets and quarter lining. Generally, older customers order these whereas younger ones order a full lining.
Oxxford made a short promotional film which is on its home page as well as YouTube. http://www.oxxfordclothes.com.
Great, thank you Mark.
Without hijacking this article into about Oxxford, on the issues of style and cut, it is best to call the Oxxford store in New York City or a local Oxxford retailer. See http://www.oxxfordclothes.com.
They do not have a single “signature” profile or look. The customer is involved in the design.
One may want a full coat whereas the next customer wants a coat with a pronounced waist.
But, if you had to pin me down, I would categorize it as a moderate, classic American suit along the same lines at Paul Stuart.
Thank you Sir! The fact that the customer is involved in the design makes Oxxford a much more interesting situation then I previously thought.
Perhaps you can say something about the difference between “The London Cut” and the New York tailors style?
For me it seems like (dare I say) wider bodies require a different style of suit.
There isn’t really a New York tailor style – they largely inherit their style either from the English drape cut or from central Italian styles (depending where they originated or trained).
Simon, The advice you give in this article to use the visiting tailors from England and Italy first is correct. As great a city as New York is, the lack of quality bespoke tailors compared to the English and Italians is very clear. I must admit that I don’t fully understand why this is the case, but that’s the situation regrettably. However, the discussion of Oxxford clothes was intriguing and may be worth further investigation. The next time you visit Chicago please consider a visit to Oxxford and a subsequent article.
Again, with Simon’s toleration and permission, I would like to comment on VSF’s comment that Oxxford does a poor Neopolitan style coat.
I would agree. It is not a Neopolitan tailor.
Simon has stressed that one should not expect a tailor to go outside of his style idiom. If one wants a Neopolitan coat, use a Neopolitan tailor.
One of my former salesmen at Oxxford used to chuckle about a customer who wanted Oxxford to make an Armani style suit. He refused to make it, and he told the customer to go to Armani. He knew that the customer would be disappointed. However, my salesman did offer to make an excellent suit within Oxxford’s style vocabulary which the customer accepted. The customer was happy.
Nice. Thanks Mark
Good point Mark. You mentioned that the Oxxford suit model is somewhat along the lines of Paul Stuart with individual customer adjustments of course. This is good news as I personally like the Paul Stuart silhouette. Oxxford deserves a definite second look given this very helpful information., thank you. The key, as always, is to work with people who know how to measure and fit the suit properly. I will definitely take Simon’s, as usual, excellent advice and use a Neapolitan tailor for a Neopolitan suit or jacket.
Hi Mark and Simon,
I hope you are both well?
Mark, how do you know so much?
The first magazine I read as a teenager about style was Cigar Aficionado so I was more in tune with style in New York than London, I think Leonard Logsdail had only moved to New York recently at the time (about 1997). The brands they wrote about a lot were Oxxford, Kiton, Luciano Barbera, Brioni, Luigi Borelli, Sutor Matellassi, Alex Kabbaz, Geneva Custom Shirts, Paris Custom Shirts, Leonard Logsdail, Alan Flusser, Bill Fioravanti, Robert Talbot and a few more. This was a time when there was no “The Rake” or “Gentleman’s Journal” magazines. Anyway, I thought I was reading that one of the benefits of going to a custom tailor was that they could/would make any style you like so if you wanted an Armani style suit they would make it for you.
Mark, this is a long shot, I don’t suppose you know a guy call Dan who used to be the store manager of Robert Talbot in Manhattan? He was also extremely knowledgeable.
Sorry, bit of a long one.
Very surprised that, despite many mentions of Steve here, nobody seems to have anything to say about Edwin.
Steed visit USA frequently, and for my money make better and more consistently than any other Row tailor.
Many of the “Cigar Aficionado” clothing articles were written by G. Bruce Boyer and are available on line. See https://www.cigaraficionado.com/author/g-bruce-boyer?&page_articles=1
I would say that Mr. Boyer’s articles tended to be New York centered in that most of the readership either lived in New York and or traveled to New York. Also, at the time, 1999, there were no internet blogs and reviews phrasing Neopolitan tailors and shirtmakers. I would say that the mainstream clothing world of 1999 centered around New York, London, and Paris, with some side trips to Rome, Milan, and Hong Kong. Naples was not even on the map.
Daniel Webster worked for Talbott, and I believe that he is the New York representative of Jodek, the cloth merchant. A gentleman. I once had him in the office selling some end pieces to friends.
Thanks Mark, I really appreciate your reply.
Yes, Dan Webster rings a bell, a really nice guy and seemed to know almost everyone in the trade.
What’s your business to have him come to your office? Your link is a law firm but the way you talk about people coming to your office etc. Sounds like you are in he clothing trade.
Last question for the moment, have you ever had shirts by Alex Kabbaz?
Daniel Webster is a fantastic guy and extremely knowledgeable of good cloth. He was my source for old old tweeds he would stumble upon. Old Alsport and WBill Keepers. He is no longer with Jodek. Wherever he is I hope he’s doing great.
Hey Simon, I heard about Huntsman bespoke 100 that starts at £3500. But upon reading its website, I’m not quite sure what it is exactly. Have you heard about it? And if so, what are your thoughts?
It’s a bespoke suit that’s cut and finished on Savile Row, but with the majority of the making done offshore. Rather like Whitcomb & Shaftesbury’s Classic Bespoke.
It’s a good thing to offer I think, as not everyone can afford the top level. But they might struggle with that price, given other bespoke made on Savile Row is pretty close to it.
Simon, I want to have a suit, sport coat, and pants made by Anderson and Sheppard and possibly one other Row tailor. I’m somewhat intrigued by Kathryn Sargent. I know she made a jacket for you and your wife that you were pleased with. I’d have her make me a suit, sport coat, and pants plus a jacket and pants for my daughter. Would you recommend her?
Certainly Scott, she’s very good. If you like her style I would go with her – nicely different style from A&S too
Thank you sir! How would you describe her style please? By the way, does A&S make clothes for women as well? If so, I’d have them make a jacket and pants for my daughter also to see which style she prefers.
Her style is a fairly traditional English one – straight and sharp, with a little more structure. A&S cuts the other most obvious style, the drape cut, which is a little softer and roomier.
Kathryn is quite similar to Richard Anderson, which you can see an example of here.
And you can see my Anderson & Sheppard here.
Great information, thank you. I’d read your piece on A&S earlier, but not the one on Richard Anderson. These differences in cut and style are really interesting.
Oh good. Do leave any comments on those posts if you want more details Scott
You want to buy a bespoke suit for your daughter?
I don’t suppose you want to adopt a nice English well spoken 39 year old? (Me)
You have an excellent sense of humor and I appreciate the inquiry, but no.
Scott – I have had two sports coats made by Kathryn and my wife has had two overcoats made by her. I would have no hesitation recommending her for you and/or your daughter. I am a pretty standard shape so not too much of a challenge to fit but my wife is quite short and curvy and the coats she made for her are a great fit.
I am not sure what I would call Kathryn’s style, not too stiff but pretty classical.
William, thank you so much for your comments. I definitely prefer a garment that isn’t stiff and has a softer shoulder, as I have more of an athletic build. From what I can tell, row tailors tend toward building up and stiffening the shoulder which for me is unnecessary and undesirable. That’s why A&S appeals to me as they apparently don’t do that as much. Would you mind describing the shoulder of your jackets please? By the way, having an overcoat made is also a great idea.
Just to jump in Scott, yes A&S has less padding than the other Savile Row tailors. However, the big structure is really only found at places like Huntsman. Kathryn and others like Richard Anderson don’t have that much padding and structure – the difference from A&S is more in the sharp lines and lack of drape
That’s very helpful Simon, thank you.
The two sports coats I have are a shetland tweed and a finmeresco blazer. The shetland is a heavy warm item and the finmeresco a summer travel blazer. To me, neither shoulder is too heavy but then all my suits and coats are London made. In face the stiffest item I have is a DB blazer made by Tony Martin now at Dunhill NY (see above)
On the tangential subject of women on Savile Row, I am curious about under-the-radar Fadia Aoun. She is the woman behind Brian Russell bespoke. Russell was ex-A/S and Fadia herself trained earlier with Edward Sexton.
One wonders whether a proper visit is in order?
I’m in the process of having a suit made for me by Joseph Genuardi. From the suits I can see in his workshop that he’s making for other clients, his work is handsome. He carries an extensive assortment of beautiful fabrics at various price points. While I definitely have my preferences about certain aspects of suits, it’s been good to hear his opinion and advice. I definitely recommend contacting Joseph Genuardi if you’re interested in bespoke clothing.
I saw the comments on Beckenstein’s and I completely disagree. The cloth selection (downstairs) includes cloths from now defunct mills in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Scotland – all of which they have used to create 2 / 3 piece suits for me. They have thousands of bolts from which to choose. Upstairs is Steven Tabak’s domain. A initial consultation takes 1 – 2 hours. There are a minimum of 2 follow up fitting sessions, all with Steven. All of the tailoring is done in NY, some on the premises (largely finishing). I’m not sure where the cutting etc. is done but it certainly is not China. His client list includes major players in the NY legal profession, actors, sportsmen and ‘regular’ people like me. This doesn’t of course speak to quality, provenance or classification but, a the owner of 10+ bespoke suits from Beckenstein’s I thought I’d set the record straight
From what I see Genuardi makes a nice high armhole. His work look very nice to my eye.
Always enjoy your articles. How about Angel Bespoke or Alan David in New York City? Would they be considered bespoke or MTM. I always assumed Angel Bespoke cut everything by hand, while I never used his services I just assumed by the numerous articles written about him.
I don’t know on either I’m afraid Eric. I’ll try to look into them more in the future, but would have to leave other readers to comment for the moment
Gents, Simon asked me to explain “The Power Suit” or “A 57th St Suit”. There were 57st suits and 57th st Tailors. Three to be exact. Tony Maurizio , Bill Fioravante and Henry Stewart.
The 57th St Suit was from a day of big American Cadillacs and Lincoln Continentals. It was for powerful men unapologetic about their position. It was a highly constructed suit for highly constructed men. Strong , padded shoulders and a rope sleeve. A nipped waist, high side vents and a cupped hem. I am referring to Henry Stewart suits as I worked for him. But Bill and Tony has their similar versions. To see Henry Stewart’s 57st suits google- Lee Marvin in Gorky Park- Robert DeNiro in Goodfellas – Paul Newman in The color of money. You may be surprised when you see that they are not overdone at all. They are not boisterous. They are not overbearing. The lines work beautifully. Think a 1956 Lincoln Continental. They are well engineered and no one thing grabs the eye. Elegant powerful lines and symmetry. Thank you , Simon, for including me in your write up.
Thank you very much for the description, I’ve always wondered and thanks for quoting goodfellas, one of my favourite movies.
The one thing with goodfellas that I always liked were the collars of the shirts that when done up they came down and almost met in the middle covering the tie, do you know what this collar is called?
I don’t know that, Joel. But I liked it too.
Mr. Shattuck, how would you describe your style of tailoring? I saw the Anthony Bourdain film and became intrigued when you mentioned that you trained under Raphael. Of the tailors that Simon mentioned, you are the most interesting in terms of experience.
Sir, thank you for asking. I worked the tale end of true old world Tailors. They are all in my “style”. . I don’t have a style that’s in my head. I first go for fit and balance and armhole placement. High armhole placement and a well place collar that stays put. My style comes from what my hands draft from the classic Mitchell System lines. I like a piped , rope sleeve and I more often than not I use a chest dart. I often use no pad. I only use cloth to my standards.
I would just like to reiterate what others here have said. That is, it’s nice to see you covering tailors here in the U.S. a bit and perhaps in the future more articles could cover other areas of the country. Tailoring is, unfortunately, a dying art here but there are still some tailors here and there doing quality work that fit the definition of bespoke that you have. They are certainly difficult to find but still out there. I know because I have been lucky enough to find one! Keep up the great work with the website.
I had a recent conversation with a person in the know from Napoli who seemed to indicate, that of the three tailors whom they considered noteworthy in Napoli, none of them had anyone in training to take over when they were gone. In addition, there didn’t seem to be anyone else coming up in the ranks there to keep that level of excellence and unique style going. It made me wonder if this is a closing window into acquiring this style of suit from a real master.
There are a few, but yeah it is a consistent problem with Italian tailors.
Some worth mentioning though: Elia Caliendo is still young, the Ciardi brothers are taking over from their father, and Ciro Zizolfi’s son cuts with him.
Also, it tends to be when they get to near retirement that people start looking at cutters as real masters. There’s no reason the younger cutters won’t also be just as good, it’s just that there will be fewer of them.
I found that a long time ago in England for shirtmakers, seemed like a dying art.
At Budd, there used to be Mr Butcher and it seemed he was the only one there but I could have been mistaken.
At Turnbull & Ass, I think the chap there was called Colin Thomas but I could be completely wrong on the name, it just rings a bell, I asked about spending the afternoon with him to see how measurements are done etc. And I distinctly remember him saying to his colleague “I’m not teaching him anything”.
I was fortunate enough to spend a weekend with Alexander Kabbaz in The Hamptons as I really wanted to learn from him, sadly that never happened.
Joel, you should look into Eric Seewaldt of Seewaldt & Bauman in New York. I always suggest to my customers they use him. An old school shop.
Is that to check collar styles?
I’ve been working with Joseph since his days at Greenfield. His skills, talent, and knowledge were always obvious, but out on his own he’s free to really demonstrate the quality of his art. Couldn’t be happier with any garment he’s made for me.
What do you know about Rudolph Popradi, an Hungarian expat living in Montreal? As highlighted in a few YouTube videos, his stitch work and hand finishing is very impressive. My understanding is he does EVERYTHING himself, by hand. Any insight is greatly appreciated.
I don’t know anything I’m afraid John, sorry
From what I see on his video he looks like an authentic , true tailor.
Thank you for the confirmation. I have zero experience with Rudolf. I came across him on YouTube after watching the documentary, O’mast.
My conclusion, after viewing a sampling of videos showcasing some of the “who’s who” of Savile Row, as well as some of the more ubiquitous Italian Tailors (Naples, Rome, Milan, etc), is that Rudolf seems to truly embody each countries respective specialties, with respect to both construction and detail. Not to mention his pricing seems to be a tremendous value, given the exchange rate, and Canada is like our 51st state, and is always a great visit, and very easy to access. Like you, Frank, he only puts out 2 suits, max, per month.
North America truly needs a more cohesive, centralized organization that can aggregate North America’s “true” master tailors. Basically, a guild, if you will, to set and maintain standards, with the end goal being greater overall notoriety and sales, for an otherwise dieing industry.
An industry that deserves much greater attention, before it’s too late. It’s seems an academy, along the lines of what Savile Row offers, is the only way to fill the ranks quickly enough, as 1 to 1 apprenticeships simply can’t support a scalable, vertically integrated bespoke/bench made operation.
And if I could afford to, Frank, I’d love to commission you for a sport coat, but for now, that will have remain on my bucket list.
John, eggs are cheaper in the country and so are suits. You might even surprised. Also, regarding a school- pattern making and adjusting to the individual ( cutting ) is more important than handwork.
John, I appreciated for ten years before I could make a solid benchmade suit …from measurements and pattern drafting – to the button holes and final pressing. He was a Henry Stewart customer. I didn’t open my first shop until after 15 years of working under watchful eyes. Setting sleeves. Applying the facing be hand. Setting a collar Mastering the Mitchell System. And the real art of “cutting”. Fitting. If Raphael and Toninno were still around I’d still be learning from them. Tailor craft is an infinite universe. I have a small thimble full of knowledge. Nothing happens quickly in absorbing the tailor craft. It isn’t learned. It is absorbed slowly into your hands. One day you know something. That’s how it works.
It’s a pleasure to read both the article and the many comments. As one of the “regular” folk in the U.S. who loves well-made clothing, I’ve envied Britain for the availability of fine tailors. New York is a wonderful place to visit, but going there for tailoring effectively doubles the price of a suit for a guy from Ohio. So I was delighted to read Mark Seitelman’s comments about Oxxford. The make is carried in several stores in the state, which leads me to ask whom he’d recommend to do the fitting.
If I recall an earlier article, Simon, you said that you intend to visit Optimo in Chicago this year for the fitting and purchase of a hat. Dare I suggest visiting the Oxxford factory when you go, if it’s not already on the itinerary.
Frank Shattuck recently made me a tweed jacket. Since David’s comments here encouraged me to try Frank in the first place, I wanted to make a note re: my very positive experience. Frank didn’t ask me to make any public comment — I wanted to do so in hope of steering some tailoring fans in his direction.
I have bespoke garments from a number of English, Italian, and French tailors familiar to readers of this website (e.g. Lorenzo Cifonelli, Michael Browne then of Chittleborough & Morgan, Davide Taub of Gieves & Hawkes, Gianfrancesco Musella, Cristina & Gigi Dalcuore) as well as a handful of others who are less well-known.
In that context, I say Frank Shattuck is world-class. He has great taste and a unique perspective. He cuts and makes his coats himself, and the result has soul in spades. The coat he made me is a pleasure to wear, and it moves with an elegance that would be difficult to capture in a photograph. He uses handwork to achieve subtle shaping throughout his coats in a number of ways I had not seen previously. The only garments I have that really remind me of Frank’s work are vintage 1930s-40s.
One point worth making re: the above — I understand why, based on photos, Simon’s comments describe his style as being stylistically English and structured. But having seen and worn it in person, I would describe it differently.
The overall scale and proportion is longer, fuller, and more shapely than most contemporary Italian coats I have seen or worn, with visually stronger shoulders, fuller sleeves, longer skirt and vents, and some drape through the chest and back. But the lines and details remind me more of the old school Neapolitan tailors than any English. The Dalcuore Brycelands model is maybe in the same general ballpark, but Frank’s coat is more shapely and less sack-like (I like both, I’m just making qualitative distinctions). In terms of construction and the way it moves, Frank’s coat reminds me more of an Italian coat than any English coat I have worn (maybe at the more “structured” end of the Italian spectrum).
So I would say aspects of his approach are reminiscent of a number of different tailoring traditions I have seen and worn, but the result is unique and independent of those traditions. My understanding is Frank’s teachers were Italian-Argentine, so his tailoring ultimately comes from an Italian tradition (one that branched off the family tree of Italian tailoring 100+ years ago, and so is different from contemporary Italian tailoring). Frank could say if he agrees with that description.
Frank also has great taste in cloth and can teach you a great deal on the subject.
For any serious tailoring enthusiasts, I recommend him highly.
To put Mr. Shattuck in the same category as Cifonelli and Michael Brown is high praise indeed. What was the delivery time? May I ask what was the price of the coat? Does he have an adequate fabric selection to choose from?
Roughly 4 grand USD plus cloth. I think Frank generally works on 1 thing at a time, so if he’s available he can turn a coat around in a few weeks. In terms of cloth, he has many options and no shortage of good ideas. You should be aware going in that he is particular in this department — he is the only tailor I have met who declines jobs if he doesn’t think the cloth deserves the time and work he will put into it. In my book this is a plus. I would echo David’s comment above that tweeds are a specialty, but I have also seen killer business suits made by Frank. I would encourage you to contact Frank directly to talk turkey.
Re: cifonelli/michael browne — it wasn’t my intention to make a comparison, and I want to clarify — in some ways I think its apples and oranges — different priorities.
I think both Lorenzo and Michael have unique perspectives. They are each in their own way aiming for a very modern, urbane shape. Comparatively Frank is aiming for an utterly classic coat that would stand up next to the best of the 1930s. There is no right answer here — it’s just a matter of taste and context. When I was a younger man, I thought my dad’s clothes were too big, and I found the former 2’s work very compelling. Today I want to wear clothes that will still suit me when I’m an old man (I hope to have the opportunity to be an old man).
When I say Frank is world class, what comes to mind is (a) his goals and taste and (b) his skills and standards as a cutter. He is working towards a coat that moves well and fits well, and he is exhaustive in pursuit of said.
To illustrate the latter point… Last week we just did a second fitting of a coat he’s making for me. To my eye it looked like (no shit) the best thing I ever put on. I was texting with him a few days later, figuring it was buttonhole time, and he mentioned that he recut most of the coat because some small aspect of the fit bugged him. He has asked very happy clients to ship coats back to him from London because, talking to them on skype, he can see that the fit of the collar could be marginally more bang-on. This kind of thing. His standards of fit make a lot of other tailors I’ve worked with seem like they’re aiming more for “the right size”.
For what it’s worth, the suits Michael B and Cifonelli made me are both impressive in their own ways, but after 3-5 fittings each, I can’t say that either fits me very well. They’re too tight; they’re not comfortable; stylistically I am not confident they will stand the test of time; and most importantly, while they might look crisp in a photo if I stood still and just so (and didn’t button the jacket), I don’t think they *move* with elegance. To be clear, in the big picture these are both very nice garments made by top craftsmen (nice people too); it’s not my intention to disparage anyone. Maybe I’ve gotten a bit more muscular since they fit me; and maybe the results would have been better if I had been local to their operations rather than meeting them in hotel rooms.
Frank would be the first to tell you his buttonholes, finishing etc. are not as fine as a Cifonelli or MB. But they’re plenty good, like a lot of tailors in Naples. And he does a lot of functional handwork (for shaping purposes) that I’ve never seen from anyone else. If the couture finishing, milanese buttonholes etc. are your priority I would not direct you to Frank (he would agree). Personally I like a coat that feels like 1 guy made it.
For what it’s worth, with respect to the earlier discussion of English- vs. Italian-ness in Shattuck’s work — see his instagram for photos of the “Natural” undyed shetland tweed coat he has been making for me. This is a handmade coat with no pad whatsoever, a soft shoulder with rollino, an almost Florentine lapel line. It has the juice and the flow people like in Italian coats, but it’s not sloppy, it’s not too short, and it fits really well. The only tailor’s work I have seen on this website that really reminded me of Frank’s work was the flannel suit Bruce Boyer bought from Gaetano Aloisio. I saw that and thought… this guy looks like a grown up!
This is excellent information, thank you. He’s really the only American tailor in this piece, and possibly Eric Jensen, that I have potential interest in trying. Have you had and Oxxford suit or sport coat made? If so, how would you compare the two in terms of workmanship and fit? I’m also considering Huntsman as the firm now has an operation in New York with a cutter on location. Any experience with Huntsman?
My friend, the above mentioned tailors have nothing to do with what I do. Nothing.
Please explain sir
Re: oxxford, Sorry, no I have no experience with them. I have a few old suits that were made at Martin Greenfield (similar structure and business model) but I am loathe to make assumptions about how their work compares.
Re: Huntsman, again sorry, I am generally familiar with their work, the proportion that is associated with them, etc. — but I have never used them and I don’t know who runs their bespoke operation now. Comparatively I would expect Frank’s coat to be a bit fuller proportion overall — more generous sleeve, more extended shoulder (but probably less or no pad compared to Huntsman which I would guess would be padded), more room in the chest, etc. The lines and proportions overall would be more curvaceous (!) and less angular English. Look at some of the patch pockets Frank does on tweeds. I’m not aware of any English maker who make pockets with such cheek.
FWIW I have had two suits cut by Davide Taub at Gieves & Hawkes… One of them I would say has “Huntsman-esque” proportions in the scheme of things. Davide is a good man and a serious cutter who cares about fit, is open-minded and versatile — you can see this in the range of garments he has made for Simon pictured on this site. If you are specifically in that sort of close-fitting English cut, you might consider him. He travels to New York City regularly.
And I noted your comment above about oxxford vs. neapolitan and so forth — I would say if you want a neapolitan suit and you don’t want to go to Italy (consider it) there are a number of options that travel to NYC, including Dalcuore, who in my experience will not make you a coat that fits as well as Frank’s, but will make you a pretty darn nice coat that is certainly neapolitan and is not too short. There are other italian tailors who travel to NYC as well, e.g. Kotaro Miyahira, some sicilians, a few that are not coming to my mind at the moment.
I don’t find the “angular” English fit particularly attractive personally. When I see someone in a classic Savile Row suit, despite being beautifully made, the fit is more often than not too tight. Combined with an extended shoulder and excessive padding can, in my view, give the wearer a bit of a pin head look. Of course the potential exception here would be tailors such as Anderson & Shepherd or Steven Hitchcock that subscribe to a more relaxed cut. So, I prefer a natural non, or very little, extended shoulder with only the minimal padding necessary to provide appropriate structure along with a more relaxed fit in the jacket body.
As has been observed by numerous people here, the United States is seriously lacking in true bespoke tailors, even in the great city of New York, which is a puzzlement. Nevertheless, going to New York or Chicago is easier then going to London or Naples, providing that true bespoke tailors on the level of the latter are available. However, the main point of this article is that that is simply not the case, despite the protestations otherwise. So, this means that American men interested in quality clothing are relegated basically to made to measure or meeting an English or Italian tailor at one of the various trunk shows held throughout the year in the United States. That’s why your comments concerning Mr. Shattuck are interesting, as you have experience with true bespoke tailors over a wide spectrum.
“Pin Head” — I know exactly what you mean.
By the way, I remember you asking about Frank’s cloth selection — we actually realized last I saw him (after my last comment here), I had been so focused on tweeds that he never showed me some of his other books. He then showed me (no surprise) a number of books of excellent suiting cloth (worsteds, high-twists, mohairs, etc.), including several I had never seen or heard of before. So let me revise my comment on this subject to simply say, he has a nose for great cloth across all categories, and he has given me much more substantial guidance as regards cloth than I have gotten from anyone else in Europe or England. You would be in good hands.
Thank you sir for this additional excellent information. My last issue concerns the silhouette. It appears that Frank’s house style leans toward an extended shoulder which I don’t like. The extended shoulder in the United States has often been seen on athletes and gangsters and I’m always mystified why men like it, but a lot do apparently. Am I correct in my understanding of his house style? Per my last comment, my strong preference is for a natural non extended shoulder with minimal padding and no roping. By the way, Frank made a brief comment to my previous post concerning the other tailors mentioned. I asked him for a clarification, but so far no response. Perhaps as a client you may have some insight.
VHS, I cannot always find my way around on here. I make any style the customer might want. I’m sorry, I didn’t see your last question. You can contact me directly.
VSF, I recently sent a softly tailored coat to Norway. This customer wanted what you have described. A softly tailored coat. No pad. Very little haircloth and no rope. I really don’t have a house style. I go by the customer. Another customer of mine is a Scottish Games Champ. His coats are softly tailored. He’d look like a ‘58 Cadillac otherwise. When I make a structured coat I put myself in Henry Stewart’s shop. When I’m making a soft coat- Raphael’s shop. And you are correct – Henry Stewart did make for gangsters and the actors playing gangsters.
I rediscovered this thread today and wrote to Mr. Crompton about some updated information regarding one of the tailors detailed therein. He asked the I write a comment here, and after due consideration, I have decided to do so. By some twist of fate, this role of conveyor has fallen to me.
It is with no small amount of personal pain and dismay that I ruefully transmit the news of the passing of Nino Caldarone. An exemplary gentleman and gifted tailor who elevated his craft to nigh-artistry, he was also an incredibly, gentle, gracious, and generous man. I was lucky enough to know him briefly, and I believe that I may call him Friend. He was kind enough to make two suits for me (although he appeared to be essentially retired), among the very last that he crafted, out of gorgeous Vitale Barberis Canonico cloth, which he described as “a treat for a tailor.” The feeling that they give when worn is that you become invincible. I also had some pants and a number of shirts made, all with impeccable style and workmanship. Mr. Caldarone was likely the last of the Old Masters, and his passing is a loss to the tailoring world and humanity at large.
More information is available here:
If one is willing to travel 45 minutes outside NYC there are 2 bespoke tailors in Greenwich, CT. Greenwich is known for ultra high net worth residents that have demand for high quality. It’s home to Richard’s the department store, and one of the most prime retail corridors in America on Greenwich Ave that rivals Worth Ave or Rodeo drive.
Uberto Pitagora is a tailor I have not worked with. I’m not sure what is style is like, but many of the high profile residents of Greenwich have worked with him. He is getting older and I’m not sure if he has anyone that will take over for him. But from what I understand he is highly respected. Don’t quote me, but I understand his suits start around $4-5000
The second tailor, who I work with is Julio Tepan of Su Misura. Primarily I work with his son with their made to measure collection. But the father is capable of making a full bespoke suit with detailed hand work and a hand made canvas. His style is soft canvas, soft shoulder, slight drape to the chest, straight cut lapel, and the lapel gorge sits just below the collar bone. Tepan’s mtm are in the $1200-$2000 range and the full bespoke start at $3400
I offer some comment from experience with designer-led vs. cutter-led firms from personal experience. The comments are prompted by Simon’s comments in another post on a designer-led firm.
I would guess a considerable proportion of people who start with designer-led firms switch to cutter-led firms because they get better and more consistent quality. That is my bespoke experience, which began with a designer-led firm 30 years ago. I commissioned eight pieces including suits, sport coats, and a dinner suit over about 15 years with this firm. Except for the first two pieces, none of these pieces matched the quality of fit I received in a larger number of commissions from A&S, Steed, or WW Chan (the latter directly from their Hong Kong office). The main issues were with the critical areas of coat fit in the upper body and shoulders, and correct positioning of sleeves (arm holes must be high, but if the sleeve is not set correctly you don’t get full freedom of movement).
All the pieces I commissioned from the designer-led firm are still wearable and look good. The main issue is whether you are getting bespoke value for a bespoke price.
Notably, the man who supervised the making of the first two pieces from the designer-led firm was a renowned cutter/tailor whose name has appeared in this blog. He left after a few years to work under his own name.
Cutting and tailoring require high skill levels that take a long time to acquire, as Simon writes. A bespoke operation requires not just skilled people, but people who work well as a team. Over time, the quality level varied as the team and the business evolved. A designer must bring something very special to attract and retain the required talent. Talented people will be tempted to leave to set up on their own. The designer-owner can be an added layer of higher cost and is not involved in making. The consequent pressure to find expedient solutions when parts of the team leave, or to achieve margin, may be high. As Simon suggests, there is a spectrum between using some outworkers, as even most cutter-led firms do, and outsourcing. At a point one crosses the line from bespoke to MTM.
I suppose that if pattern making and fittings and alterations can be done by very skilled in-house cutters and tailors, a designer-led firm could be better off in terms of quality and consistency by sending the tailoring to a specialized maker such as Adrian Jules or Martin Greenfield that presumably have the required skills and quality control and stability of workforce. I would be interested to know Simon’s thoughts on this.
The cutter-led firm may not have a great sense of style. However, by seeing examples of what they’ve produced you can know that before placing an order, and there is likely to be less concern over the tailoring skills. It’s harder to assess the designer-led firm’s ability to make. I question whether any designer can become as skilled as a very talented cutter or tailor at fitting or adapting style to the figure of a customer who varies from standard sizing. I turned to bespoke partly because standard sizes/configurations did not fit me well.
I offer two bits of advice from experience. First, ask a lot of question about the who and how of the production to figure out whether you are working with a great team who is likely to stay together, or at least to maintain standards should people leave. Great bespoke skills are not easily replaced. You may find it hard to get good answers to these questions, and if you sense a lack of transparency, move on. Second, the more your measurements or posture differ from standard sizes, the more you should favor a cutter-led firm.
Thank you Simon. This very helpful article for those of us looking for bespoke in NYC, did Manolo Costa ever respond to your questions below to confirm that what he offers would actually he defined as bespoke based on your definition of bespoke?
I just read your article about New York bespoke tailors and saw my name, which was quite surprising since I am located in Montreal Canada. My name is Rudolf Popradi. You admitted not knowing me but some of your readers did after viewing my YouTube videos. It is nice to hear that people appreciate a true craftsman. This is why I do the videos to show that there are still tailors who try to keep alive this beautiful craft.
Rudolf Popradi, Master True Bespoke Tailor
Thanks Rudolf, and thank you for clarifying too. Here’s hoping I get to come see your work some time
Unfortunately it appears that Nino Caldarone passed away in August of last year: https://www.facebook.com/alterationsbygreg/posts/112433733428511
Do you have any experience with Cad & The Dandy? It looks like a Savile Row tailoring house with a place in NYC with “bespoke” (could be semi-bespoke, in reality) starting at $1,400. Thanks, appreciate what you do.
No, I know them well but have never tried them.
I have used Cad & Dandy and can recommend them. They offer an overseas bespoke make, but they also offer a London make, which is what I went for. I was fitted once in New York and once in London. They made a navy two piece in Fresco that has become a mainstay. The cut is west end standard and the finish is decent for the price.
Thank you Nick
I’m planning on buying a bespoke suit for my wedding next year and this thread has been incredibly helpful. What advice would you give a rookie going into the process???
We’ve written about this quite a lot over the years Tim. Have a read of these posts (and the comments) to start with:
– Going to the tailor
– Video on visiting the tailor
– Visiting a maker for the first time
– First fitting
Simon – Any updates on Joseph Genuardi and Yosel Tiefenbrun? Looking for bespoke in NYC and Logsdail’s prices are stratospheric?
I’m afraid not, I haven’t been able to travel out to the US for almost two years now unfortunatley.
Sorry I can’t help more.
I have patronized many of the most recognized global tailors (musella dembech, cifonelli amongst them) and I highly recommend Frank Shattuck.
I have used Joseph Genuardi for a number of pieces now and he has been excellent. I have used a number of English (on the Row and off) and American tailors and Joseph is the equal of any, and better than most, in terms of fit and quality of construction. We have now developed both single and double-breasted patterns that I am very happy with, and Joseph works tirelessly to make sure everything is just-so.
On top of this, I feel that Joseph offers tremendous value when compared to a number of row (and indeed, some NYC based) tailors I have used who have produced below average garments at inflated prices. While I have still found quality on the row, one in particular made a shockingly terrible suit that they then had altered in NYC which is certainly not what I paid for.
The only issue I have had with Joseph is he has a tremendous backlog and has been a bit behind on estimates for delivery. I have no issue with this as I find it to be the result to his dedication to the end-product, but I would not expect anything to be done terribly quickly.
I highly recommend Alan Flusser. I commissioned a DB and blazer and both are top notch. In addition their education/guidance on design is par excellence. Alan and Jonathan will guide you on proportions, color, etc. that work best for your physique and complexion.
Have both bespoke and MTM service.
I would be remiss in not noting the absence of any women on this list.
Women (such as lawyers, for instance) need suits too–and bespoke ones, at that. There are some outstanding female tailors in NYC. And I feel pretty safe in saying that for many women, they will feel more comfortable being fitted by a woman than a man and might have an easier time describing the look that they are after with a woman than a man. That isn’t to say that a male tailor isn’t able to provide great service to a female customer–but there are those customers who might feel more comfortable with a female tailor than a male one. It’s a human thing.
Thank you David. Could you name some of the female bespoke tailors please? And note the definition of bespoke just to be clear – personal paper pattern adjusted over multiple fittings, and handmade structure such as a padded chest. Cheers
There’s Dara Lamb (https://www.daralamb.com), Custom Collaborative (https://www.customcollaborative.org), The Tailory (https://thetailorynyc.com), and Watson Ellis (https://www.watsonellis.com). Those are the four that I know of in NYC. There are some from Savile Row that travel to NYC (and then there’s Richard Anderson with a female cutter, but I don’t know how involved she is in fittings)–but they are not NYC-based.
Thanks David. Yes a fair few of Savile Row tailors make great suits for women, and we’ve covered Kathryn Sargent’s work there in particular (here).
It would be interesting to learn more about some of those other makers some time from someone who has used a few.
My daughter (just starting as a lawyer in NYC) was given a bespoke suit as a graduation gift. She’s interviewing tailors now. I’ll let you know what she finds out.
Thank you. I’m sure you will know this, but information as to exactly how they work, and are real bespoke, is very helpful. New York seems to have more places calling themselves bespoke that just use MTM services from Europe or Asia than anywhere else
I’d like to add La Rukico custom tailors – http://www.tailor.com for the best custom suits in NYC. I am impressed by Mr. Kelly as a person and as a tailor. They seem to have a wide collection of fabrics from world famous brands like Dormeuil, Loro Piana, Zegna, Holland and Sherry and more.
5 star rated custom suits at the most affordable prices in NYC – is how I’d define them in one sentence. For those interested in custom suits in NYC, one should surely visit them – 212-832-0725.
I’d rate Mr. Kelly from La Rukico as one of the best custom tailor in NYC.
Could you tell us who you are please? No offence but this sounds like an advert!
Has anybody tried Albert lam bespoke ? I heard he is fully bespoke , handmade and at his shop in the city. And very affordable (2k)
Also can you please recommend any of the traveling Italian tailors to nyc ?
I read about i sarti Italiani who seem good.
I’d recommend Zizolfi highly – they were just there. I can’t remember out of Pirozzi, Ciardi, Caliendo, Ettore de Cesare whether they go to NY
Thank you. Yes most of them don’t come to NY.
Don’t forget Scali-Balletta at 16 E. 52nd St. After Vincent (James) Scali died, his brother Salvatore (Sam) Scali moved to 57th St. where he shared space with Henry Stewart. All 3 were contemporaries of Bill Fiorovanti, Tony Maurizio, etc., well known Italian American custom tailors in their day.