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?

Many things come and go (and come again) in fashion. Yet, the elegance of formal menswear continues to stand the test of time. One may argue that there’s less of a need to be decked out in a full suit these days. But that doesn’t mean that the category has been rendered completely obsolete.

Louis Vuitton’s latest "New Formal" menswear collection reiterates the fusion of timeless elegance with modern tailoring. elevating formal staples with luxury craftsmanship. Following the Spring/Summer 2024 debut, this latest trans-seasonal instalment places a spotlight on slim suiting. Single-breasted jackets are paired with cigarette trousers for a timeless silhouette. It exudes an air of confidence and refined professonalism. Apart from being available in classic shades of black and navy, an option in white makes for the perfect fit for an evening soirée.

The Damier motif that’s been further emphasised by Louis Vuitton men’s creative director Pharrell Williams adorns everything from suiting to footwear. With a wavy motif and pinstripes cut on the bias, it add a subtle, dynamic flair. As if one needs more examples on how this isn’t your father’s idea of tailoring. Footwear styles such as the Sorbonne loafers, Varenne Chelsea boots and Richelieus in rich leather tones complement the tailored options. They prove to be key staples of the “New Formal” collection.

Formality here, however, isn’t just defined by suiting. This new instalment expands the idea of formalwear with tailored outerwear that act as complementary, timeless options. An elegant navy suede leather blouson, a beige peacoat designed with a shearling collar, as well as a parka constructed as a three-in-one piece, all offer the kind of versatility one would expect from a collection meant to be an indispensable investment. Wear them with the extensive coordinated options of the “New Formal” tailoring. Or pair them with other more casual wardrobe staples for an elegant quick-fix.

Iconic bag styles like the Keepall travel bag and the Aerogram Lock It tote suit every professional need. The Georges tote—introduced in the first instalment—makes a return as it becomes an emblem for the collection. Crafted in Millésime grained leather by Domaine des Massifs, the design is sleek, stylish, and hardy such that it makes for a brilliant alternative to an ordinary briefcase.

The suit is dead, long live the suit.

The latest Louis Vuitton "New Formal" collection is now available in Louis Vuitton boutiques and online.

Edited by Asri Jasman

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