Berluti's Grand Mesure suits are an extension of the brand's bespoke shoe service.
(BERLUTI)

Nothing feels quite as satisfying as purchasing a piece of garment that fits like a glove. It’s a stroke of luck unless your body is conventionally shaped and match the standard dimensions of pattern blocks used by ready-to-wear manufacturers. Even then, these standards can differ between brands, and finding the right fit—for those who care about the subtleties of a well-fitting ensemble—can be challenging.

Ready-to-wear makes up a significant chunk of the clothing market, ranging from fast fashion to luxury assortments offered by major brands. While the designs and the levels of craftsmanship (if any) vary, the ease and relative speed of producing ready-to-wear make it the default choice for the everyman.

The idea of ready-to-wear fashion isn’t new, and its proliferation and mainstream access had arrived by the 20th century. Driven by the Industrial Revolution, ready-to-wear gained traction with the accelerated speed of producing yarns, as well as the invention of pattern-cutting and sewing machinery. Technology would continue to advance, capable of producing new yarns and blends of fabric at quantities commanded by economies of scale. This is why we’re able to rock up to a store, pick a shirt, try it on in the fitting room, and pay for it at the cashier, all in less than 30 minutes, or cart out a piece of garment in a matter of minutes online.

Button selections at Giorgio Armani.
(GIORGIO ARMANI)
Fabric choices are aplenty at Giorgio Armani.
(GIORGIO ARMANI)

“It was a time of big fashion corporations, globalisation and an impersonal approach to design,” says Giorgio Armani. “I believe it is important to remember where fashion design started—with the desire to make beautiful clothes for people to wear.” With this intention, the Italian maestro decided to embark on a made-to-measure service in 2006 that is rooted in his design language of ease and comfort.

Fluid shapes and relaxed tailoring are Giorgio Armani signatures and its made-to-measure service simplifies the offering into two categories. The “Soho” is more suited to those looking for contemporary and sophisticated silhouettes, while the “Wall Street” range offers classic and traditional silhouettes. Both feature designs from the Giorgio Armani ready-to-wear collections too for daywear and eveningwear.

The new Ngee Ann City boutique is one of a select number of Giorgio Armani shops around the world offering the made-to-measure service. Clients need only turn up for an initial consultation, where a trained staff will take their measurements needed and go through the customisations that can be done—from fabric choice to type of lapel, down to the lining and buttons.

The process is fairly streamlined:, and clients are given an option for a second fitting before the made-to-measure piece is finished. The final garment can either be picked up at the boutique or delivered to the client. And after that first piece has been made, the client’s measurements and unique pattern will be stored in the Giorgio Armani database—no further measurements are needed for subsequent orders, unless the clients’ figure change over time.

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While more known for its slate of beautiful patinated leather shoes, Berluti too offers a tailoring service. And just like its bespoke shoe service, its Grand Mesure suits are technically bespoke—a piece cut exactly to the measurement of one’s body with personalisation options that are almost limitless. The brand partners up with Parisian bespoke tailor Arnys (acquired by parent company LVMH in 2012 and folded into Berluti) for its Grand Mesure tailoring.

More than just the garment itself, bespoke services often relates to the client’s lifestyle—how he lives, what he does, where he sees himself wearing the piece, etc. Because having almost a limitless range of options to choose from can be daunting, the tailor is able to guide and advise on fabric choices (over 3,000 in total) and even the tiniest details. If not, a Grand Mesure collection provides initial inspirations on pieces to work with, such as a safari jacket, denim jeans and the emblematic Berluti Forestière jacket.

Three weeks after the initial consultation, the first fitting is scheduled. If it’s a suit that’s being crafted, the unfinished jacket will be presented to determine if the fit is perfect. A completed pair of trousers is presented at this fitting. A month later, a complete bespoke suit will be presented during a second fitting where adjustments to length, width and overall fit can be made promptly. And just like that, about two months after the first consultation, a Berluti Grand Mesure suit is made to one’s unique dimensions.

But of course, made-to-measure and bespoke services aren’t restricted to traditionally tailored garments.

Prada’s made-to-measure service extends to leather outerwear as well as knitwear. For the former, clients are able to choose between six outerwear styles: blazer, caban, coat, bomber, biker and overcoat. A selection of three types of leathers are used with a high level of customisation options. But because leather is a more precious material to work with, the artisan will only start cutting the chosen leather once a canvas toile is tried and fitted on the client with no further changes.

The range is wider for Prada’s made-to-order knitwear. Ten classic Prada knits can be customised using two lightweight gauge knits—superfine wool f.30 and superfine cashmere f.18. Colours can be taken from Prada’s extensive runway archives to create a knit that’s Prada in every way but still unique to one’s whims.

Drawing on the execution of a modern tailoring wardrobe, Zegna’s made-to-measure service consists of more traditional tailoring to the brand’s more relaxed proposals. Refined materials such as Zegna’s 100 per cent traceable Oasi Cashmere come in elegant monochromatic shades with knit tailoring exemplifying the contemporary aesthetic that is signature to the brand. Key outerwear styles such as the overshirt and chore jacket too are part of the mix, done in a choice of fine fabrics that traipse the line of performance and style seamlessly.

The idea of made-to-measure for brands largely involved in ready-to-wear but with an appreciation for traditional tailoring and craft, is to offer a level of service that’s one of the backbones of luxury. Anybody can go to a boutique and buy something off the rack, but not everyone can get the same piece tailored specifically for them.

“I realised that I have clients who really do want a unique product, made specifically for them. Hence, I decided to create a made-to-measure service, where a customer gets all the benefits of a tailor-made garment—unique fit, fabric, lining, buttons, details—as well as the signature Giorgio Armani look,” says Armani.

It’s also about appreciating the time and artistry behind the craft. With made-to-measure, it’s a given that a big portion of creating the garment is done by hand by skilled artisans. And to know that you’ve had a hand in designing your very own Prada knitwear or Zegna jacket? What could be more luxurious than that?

New patina colours for the season.

"Consistency" could mean different things to different people. For some, it's akin to playing it safe with no actual point-of-view to speak of; others take it to mean being true to one's spirit and key aesthetics. Berluti falls in the latter—a shoemaking brand that has expanded over the decades to offer a more holistic luxury experience.

That's not to say that Berluti is only skilled at shoemaking (it is, of course). But throughout its course of creative directorship changes—Haider Ackermann as artistic director was a personal favourite—it has proven that there's a lot to work with as extensions of its sharp footwear. Berluti is decidedly rudderless but the design team is crafting innovative pieces that works for a lifestyle worthy of the quality of its craftsmanship and pieces.

It's evident from the presentation space for the Berluti Autumn/Winter 2024 collection. Located in a historical house with all the typical flourishes of a luxurious Parisian apartment, it was easy to imagine that the collection could very well belong to the owner of the lavish four-room suite.

The Rapiecé Reprisé collection is marked by its oversized stitching of patinated and Scritto leathers together.

The space opened up with an installation of Berluti's new Venezia leather patina colours for the season, displayed on the classics the likes of the Alessandro and the Andy. To the left was a room of the season's ready-to-wear offerings worn by a cluster of mannequins, each completely styled from head-to-toe. And facing that was the return of the Rapiecé Reprisé collection—first created in 2005—as the first instalment of the Berluti Editions line of a limited edition proposal of savoir-faire pieces.

The fit: Workwear was enhanced for Berluti Autumn/Winter 2024. A denim-like coordinate looked and felt somewhat like denim but was expertly crafted from a combination of cotton and silk, making it lighter than traditional denim with the strength of its weave intact. Leather and suede jackets take on lightweight constructions too. Opting to enhance the detailing of the pieces, a suede jacket in a gorgeous shade of burnt orange was decorated with pleats near the placket with pockets left slim and close to the body. Textural accents were also key as topstitched elements were employed quite tastefully and the use of smooth leather on the collar, the underside of which featured the Scritto—a hidden detail that Berluti loves to add almost in every iteration.

Functionality is always key and Berluti offered up some. A shearling jacket for example, was designed with a removable shearling collar—attached by snap buttons—for a second option on how it can be worn. And also, effectively switching up the vibe of the complete outfit. It's not exactly new perhaps, but smart nonetheless.

Suiting too was made with a function-first approach in mind. While Berluti's bespoke service is the brand's heightened form of tailoring on offer, the Autumn/Winter 2024 collection approached tailoring in a more lifestyle-driven manner. They're made for travel and thus are crafted from incredibly soft and lightweight Loro Piana cashmere. The idea is that these travel suiting pieces need little to no steaming—pop one on right out of the luggage and you can be on your way without looking worse for wear.

The details: A new sneaker was introduced. Fitted with a Vibram sole, the Sky Running sneaker echoes familiar silhouettes of trail-running sneakers. But also, it also felt to me like an amalgamation of some of the elements of Berluti sneakers past. The Sky Running sneakers will be offered in three different colourways with each consisting of a patchwork of mixed materials, including a heel counter that's crafted out of a patinated material meant to resemble Berluti's renowned Venezia leather patina.

There were also a duo of square-toed footwear called the Grand Chemin that's crafted from nubuck. In its deck shoe version, it resembled a cross between a formal dress shoe with that of a deck shoe collar. The trekking boots iteration featured a knit ribbed upper rendered in the same colour as the rest of its parts.

Three exceptional looks: The aforementioned "denim"-on-"denim" look 10; look 13's combination of a more rugged (yet rather minimal) suede jacket with key menswear staples (peep also that massive cabas); and look 18's simple proposal that highlights the Sky Running in all its glory.

The takeaway: Clothes that you'd actually wear with shoes crafted with centuries of craftsmanship expertise—consistency isn't necessarily a bad thing, folks.

View the full Berluti Autumn/Winter 2024 collection in the gallery below.

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