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Tailoring aesthetics : does perfection kills the coat ?


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#127 Schneidergott

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 01:42 AM

Vox, your Steed DB'S do look really nice.
It's good to see some coats/ suits that have been actually well fitted and still look good style wise. :spiteful:

And yet I am not fond of adding "soul" to my vocabulary when describing a garment.
Style, character or the creation of inexplicable, positive emotions, yes, but "soul"? No! Keep in mind that women have only been granted a "soul" not too far back...

A garment is a dead thing, brought to life by it's wearer (unless you believe that your suits come to life when unattended and fool around in the closet)!

"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

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#128 Nishijin

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 02:23 AM

SG, nobody forces you to credit inanimate things with a soul. I'm not an animist myself, and I use the word as a metaphor only.
Still, I've heard sailors talk about their ship just as she had a soul (which is why a ship is a "she", and not an "it").

But I agree there is nothing rational here. You can't analyse it rationnaly.

And I truly believe not everybody must think this way. I would certainly be afraid of an engineer who would focus more on the "soul" of his bridge than on its technical aspects. Though some bridges are a true thing of beauty.
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Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
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#129 voxsartoria

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 02:28 AM

Although "drape" has become a catchword on other fora, the term is used so loosely that it is hard to know if anyone is talking about the same thing. I've almost never seen drape - defined by vertical folds at the front of armscye - on the coats of those who regard themselves as drapists. Cutters from A&S certainly don't do place their fullness of chest there, and it seems that they consider their coats to be draped.


While I defer to the more technical use of the word "drape" that might be re-established among those of you who discuss cutting here, I think that it is a good a term as any to use to distinguish an A&S-style jacket from others. This is how they have always described themselves, although the classic quotation is something the lines of, "we drape our customers."

Do you have the three auction books from the 1997 Sotheby's sale of the Duke's and Duchess's estate? I just scanned plate number 2920 from my copy:

Posted Image

The 1956 Scholte on the left and the 2009 DeBoise on the right share more kinship than differences. The shoulders in the Scholte are heavily padded (this fact is underscored in the accompanying Sotheby's text on this suit), but produce the same effect as the unpadded Steed. Perhaps Scholte would not have padded my shoulders (that is, if he ever would have agreed to see an American!)

Now, if part of your case would be that Scholte did not cut draped jackets for the Duke, that could be correct from a technical sense given the vocaculary reassembled from classic cutting texts, but I doubt that there is merit in upturning history that much.

What do you think?

- B

Edited by voxsartoria, 31 January 2011 - 02:32 AM.


#130 voxsartoria

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 02:45 AM

A garment is a dead thing, brought to life by it's wearer (unless you believe that your suits come to life when unattended and fool around in the closet)!


I agree with this, although I would add one additional attribute that I consider important. While a garment is a dead thing, it will still evoke memories and bias in those who see it independently of the person who wears it (or does not wear it.)

When it comes to photographs, the photograph itself has this power to evoke memories and bias, independently of both the clothes and the man.

So, there is the personal and then there is also the social. And this way that clothes effects others can elicit the same responses from oneself.

While looking for the plate that I post above in the Sotheby's catalog, I came across one of a Rothesay Hunting tartan shawl-collared lounge suit. This had been made in 1897 for the Duke's father, and the Duke had this subsequently modernized by dropping the buttoning point, and making some changes to the pants. This is one of the things that he said about this suit sometime in the 1950s:

"My father's tartan suit, which I also wear in the evenings at the MIll, began to influence fashions...One of our guests mentioned the fact to a friend in the men's fashion trade, who immediately cabled the news to America. Within a few months, tartan had become a popular material for every sort of masculine garment, from dinner jackets and cummerbunds to swimming trunks and beach shorts."

We are often guided unknowlingly by the dead hand, hipster and bespoke suit wearer alike.


- B

#131 Nishijin

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 04:26 AM

Vox, this comparison Scholte vs. Steed is very interesting. Very very interesting. Thank you for this.
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Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
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#132 Schneidergott

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 04:40 AM

SG, nobody forces you to credit inanimate things with a soul. I'm not an animist myself, and I use the word as a metaphor only.
Still, I've heard sailors talk about their ship just as she had a soul (which is why a ship is a "she", and not an "it").

But I agree there is nothing rational here. You can't analyse it rationnaly.

And I truly believe not everybody must think this way. I would certainly be afraid of an engineer who would focus more on the "soul" of his bridge than on its technical aspects. Though some bridges are a true thing of beauty.

It's not that I don't get your point what you meant with "soul", it's just that so many others are most likely using it in a totally different sense. Especially those who have received a flawed garment/ item tend to give it more "soul" and character than necessary.

We humans connect certain memories (good or bad) to things, events, dates, so those which give us good ones stay while the other ones get thrown away. We treasure the stuff given to us by a loved one, even though it might just be junk in somebody else's eyes.
That said, I do not doubt that a certain garment actually feels "great", I just think that there are other aspects one should pay attention to. When you put 5.000,- Euro on the table for a suit, all aspects of it like fit, look and feel, should be "great"!
I see perfection as an ideal to strive for and it's very individual for each one of us. If you ever think that you have reached perfection, then you are dead (metaphorically speaking)! See my 1st signature!

"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#133 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 08:32 AM

It's not that I don't get your point what you meant with "soul", it's just that so many others are most likely using it in a totally different sense. Especially those who have received a flawed garment/ item tend to give it more "soul" and character than necessary.


Case in point the infamous Manton A&S coat. The coat was a train wreck but he talked the loudest trying to give the flaws as a case of more soul and character. I have heard he has since moved on from A&S since then until a few issues are addressed.

I have no problem with soul, I think my point is with SG on those who try to cover up obvious tailoring and fitting flaws under the guise of soul and character. A well made garment is a well made garment; be it the most drappy soft tailored coat produced, or the most structured with titanium wire reinforcement fused into the canvas. Soulless coats, to me, are the dime a dozen RTW and some MTM coats we see everyday, made to some generic box pattern, but we are not talking about that I guess. So from my personal likes from Edwin up to Huntsman in structure I like, my preference. If I want a relaxed fit soft tailored garment I can buy a RTW coat and alter it to fit my needs and it will look damn near the same in my opinion. But, all in all, there is no such thing as a perfect coat, perfect fit or perfect style. Just preference, unless we are talking about execution, cut or making up of said garment, these are universal truths, tailoring 102 if you will.

Edited by J. Maclochlainn, 31 January 2011 - 08:35 AM.

Silly Cognoscenti, Drape is for windows!

#134 Sator

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 10:05 AM

While I defer to the more technical use of the word "drape" that might be re-established among those of you who discuss cutting here, I think that it is a good a term as any to use to distinguish an A&S-style jacket from others. This is how they have always described themselves, although the classic quotation is something the lines of, "we drape our customers."


The trouble is that in a recent video from Henry Poole they too said they put drape in their coats. In the most basic sense of the word "drape" means fullness or ease. If that is the case, then all coats are drape coats in the sense that all cutter add ease to the basic measures. All tailors drape all customers. An off the rack Hugo Boss likewise has drape. The current coat I am making myself has extra fullness in the chest, and as you will soon see, the premier issue of Man About Town seems to define a drape coat as one with extra fullness in the chest (often exaggerated to give the wearer "gorilla like proportions"). So I guess that makes my coat a drape coat.

The other thing is that it is hard not to notice that pictures of A&S coats suggest a somewhat crooked shoulder in the manner of Victorian and Edwardian coats pre-dating Scholte. If so then Scholte never deviated much at all from the Victorian roots of his masters, and he is falsely attributed with having invented a new rage in the 1930s for the "revolutionary new drape cut".

The A&S garments I have at hand - I have three of them - dating from the 1950s through to 1980s all lack the straight shoulder that is need to throw vertical folds of drape to the front of the armscye. In fact, they all seem to have fairly neutral shoulders - no different to a Hugo Boss.

The only thing I can say is that there is a tendency in many pictures (an impression further suggested by real life examples) towards an A&S cut being slightly looser all around, plus the canvas is lighter. The chest canvas is kept away from the front of armscye. There is minimal structure around the armscye - and I don't mean shoulder padding. The sleevehead is made unusually big so that it forms pleats all the way around the scye. The end result is a slightly soft bagginess to the cut overall that is disguised as best as possible. If so, then they are using the term "drape" to mean the overall soft looseness and very slight bagginess of the OVERALL coat. It's not just about vertical folds at the front of armscye, nor even just about cutting a bulging chest. Rather they are using "drape" in the most basic sense of the word as "fullness or ease". That is to say, the coat and trousers are cut so as to give them a bit of extra "fullness and ease". That, in fact, perfectly describes what I see on the A&S garments in my possession.

The basic philosophy aims at softness and comfort rather than maximal shape and clean fits.

#135 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 10:15 AM

I think your observations above, give a little credibility to my theory that A&S cuts an "exaggerated" lounge that had a brief stint of popularity in the mid-1900's, Croonborg's blue book shows an example of this cut from 1908. I also believe that while they held on to this exaggerated cut, the means to work it up properly has either been lost over the decades, or it was a "happy" accident on their behalf when it was made up to a more modern soft construction in the 40's and rolled with it, unfortunately I believe the proper making up of their cuts has steadily declined, leaving us with the seamed and dragged bubblegum we see today. For those who like this style, I am not knocking it from a styling perspective, but I feel from a making up view much is to be desired.
Silly Cognoscenti, Drape is for windows!

#136 Sator

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 10:56 AM

Well, I do suspect that an in house cutting system has been handed down. Jeffreyd surmised that they use the Vincent's era CPG, but while I think this is a good guess, it's probably incorrect. It has period features in common with other cutting systems from the era of Vincent's CPG but is likely an unpublished system. All systems of this era have a short back neck, a shoulder on the bias and have crooked shoulders.

A cutting system is just a tool - like sheers. Two tailors can cut off the same system and get very different results. One thing that I suspect was commonly done in house was to cut a bigger, more bulging chest to give the coat shape since the really soft canvasses used combined with the easy fit overall can risk producing an excessively baggy, shapeless cut. To mitigate this, they exaggerate the overall shape, sometimes into an hourglass, or at other times with a gorilla chest and extended shoulders (Man About Town says "like a milk maid's yolk" :Big Grin: ). That means you need to have extra padding in the shoulders to "hold up the drape" in the chest. These days you see the attempt at a gorilla chest plus milk maid's yolk shoulder, but without enough structure to support it, it all deflates pretty quickly. Scholte would have had a fit.

I also suspect that Frederich Scholte continued to develop his system after the early 1900s, just as W.D.F. Vincent developed the Tailor & Cutter System during his tenure there. I think that if we had Scholte's final cutting system from the 1940s, it too would have acquired features more in common with other systems from the 1930-40s. The A&S system is probably related to the Scholte system as was set in development during the 1900s, hence the cutting features of that era.

#137 hymo

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 11:42 PM

From the pics I've seen Mr Liverano cuts a very distinctive jacket. There is no confusing it with Hugo Boss or Zegna. It has a somewhat naf aesthetic.

Here is Mr Liverano himself:
Posted Image

#138 Jake K

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 03:20 PM

From the pics I've seen Mr Liverano cuts a very distinctive jacket. There is no confusing it with Hugo Boss or Zegna. It has a somewhat naf aesthetic.

Here is Mr Liverano himself:
Posted Image


Woah, he must spend three days with the iron on that shoulder and neck point! I like it.
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#139 Naive Jr

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 04:51 AM

I suspect I misunderstand you, but if you use the expression soul - "how to give this soul to garments?" and you find yourself in difficulty, then you might consider the meaning of the word and see what you understand by "soul". I believe "soul" is a word not usually used in psychology today.
Scribimus indocti doctique poemata passim

#140 Schneidergott

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 06:05 AM

Woah, he must spend three days with the iron on that shoulder and neck point! I like it.



And unlike to some of his British colleagues the collar is symmetrical... :clapping:

"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.





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