“Less is more” is a well-known mantra for many architects and designers. And in the case of fashion, a bespoke suit is considerably more pleasurable to both purchase and wear, than simply generic clobber straight off a rack.
“People don’t want to look the same. They’re after individuality, whether they’re looking to buy a suit, a jacket or a pair of trousers,” says Michel Boutin, director of operations and strategy for The Bespoke Corner Tailors.
The Bespoke Corner Tailors offers a personalised tailoring service in Sydney and Melbourne.Credit:The Bespoke Corner Tailors
Established 10 years ago in Sydney’s Regent Street, Paddington, and opening in Melbourne two years ago in Toorak Road, South Yarra, Boutin stresses the word ‘service’, rather than fashion or trends. By appointment only, men wishing to purchase a suit start the process with an hour-long consultation, including selecting fabrics, predominantly from England and Italy, and even the type of stitching preferred. The discussion includes soft or structured shoulders, lapel widths down to buttons and lining. Boutin highlights the difference between ‘made-to-order’ and ‘made-to-measure’, with the latter the basis for the business started by the Sydney directors, Miles Wharton and master tailor Rami Mikhael.
“The first approach is simply adjusting a suit to fit one’s body shape. With us, we take 36 different measurements then the drawings and measurements are sent to our factory in Tuscany,” says Boutin, who then makes the subtle adjustments on the suit’s return Down Under.
One of Blair Archibald’s current designs available at Masons. Credit:Nathan Monzones
“One’s body shape can change in six weeks (the time it takes to produce the suit), or the fabric may just naturally drape an additional half a centimetre,” he adds. And with this process comes the cost, starting at $1200 for a bespoke suit and heading north to $30,000 (including GST).
The first suit created by The Bespoke Corner Tailors often acts as a catalyst for building a wardrobe, whether that be an additional pair of trousers to go with the suit, a shirt or an overcoat. Boutin’s clients are also difficult to pigeonhole, with the demographics being broad: from young professionals to a recent gentleman in his nineties.
Designer Blair Archibald, who trained at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), established his own label in 2014 and is the epitome of bespoke. He went onto receive numerous accolades including the prestigious Premier’s Design Award in 2018 for his bespoke army-style coat, and he produces one collection each year, aligned to the European calendar. His menswear collection is available exclusively to Masons in Flinders Lane, Melbourne.
The only Australian designer represented in the exclusive store, Archibald shares the clothing racks with Yohji Yamamoto, Maison Margiela, Jil Sander and Vivienne Westwood. “It was quite a surreal experience when I saw my name on the brand board in Masons’ front window last season,” says Archibald, whose first collection of jackets, trousers and separates at Masons sold out in a few weeks.