SUIT YOURSELF. Lessons we learned from Lanvin’s made-to-measure manager Frédéric Gelberg
There are times in a man’s life when he simply has to put on a suit. There may be a wedding to attend, an important job interview to nail, a woman to impress. The point is, it doesn’t hurt to have at least one smart suit in your wardrobe for when the occasion demands it.
The thing with suits is that you don’t buy it; you invest in it. A well-tailored, well-fitted suit can last a lifetime. So, when you see the bigger picture, it’s actually more rewarding to splurge on a made-to-measure suit.
We know that getting a made-to-measure suit can be a bit overwhelming, especially for casual dressers. So, when Frédéric Gelberg, tailor extraordinaire and Lanvin’s made-to-measure manager, visited Jakarta last October, we took the opportunity to talk about made-to-measure service.
Here are 5 things we learned from our conversation:
1. Made-to-measure 101
Put simply, when you order a made-to-measure suit, you get a chance to make it more “you.” Compared to bespoke suits, the made-to-measure option has been gaining popularity recently, and Gelberg notices it too. “We saw that a lot of people want something more personalized; they want to pick the model, the fabric, the color and perhaps the initial,” he says. “With made-to-measure we can do a suit with the style that is more up-to-date. More fitted but comfortably, too.”
2. Know Your Tailor
Before you pick up the phone to make an appointment with a tailor, get to know them first. Utilize your googling skills to research about them or the label they’re representing. “One guy called me once, ‘Can you do a suit for me, with this fabric for the body, and this fabric for [other parts of the suit]?’” Gelberg starts off. “I said, ‘Yes, we are able to do that, but we won’t do it because it’s not Lanvin.’”
If discreet yet rich detailing is your style, then a label like Lanvin would be right up your alley. The French label has what is simply called the French style. “Generally, you have some details in the suit, but not too aggressive. The French touch is more delicate and elegant.”
Harry Styles in Lanvin
3. Discussion is Vital
Let us put it this way: Your tailor is your new best friend. Or new psychiatrist, if you prefer. A dialogue with your tailor prior to being measured is mandatory. Like Gelberg explains, “It’s important to understand the client before we start to take the measurement. To discuss with him what type of client he is, if he’s into a classic or fashion suits, if he’s looking for something to travel or for an event or for work.” He adds then, “After [the discussion], I will take the measurement. This way, he will have more confidence in me because he can see exactly what I do.”
4. Personality Matters
For obvious reasons, your body type will determine your suit’s entire look. According to Gelberg, though, your personality matters just as much. “I am here to find exactly what the client needs and what is the best for him,” he emphasizes. “I respect the body of the client, and I respect his personality because I don’t want to change him.” Again, this is why a serious conversation with your tailor is essential.
Kit Harrington in Lanvin
5. Mohair, don’t care.
Choosing the materials for your suit is part of any made-to-measure service. But what if you know nothing about fabrics? Here’s a tip from Gelberg for tropical-country dwellers: You can’t go wrong with mohair, or at least a mix of wool and mohair. Made out of the hair of Angora goats, mohair is light, soft, moisture-absorbing and crease-resistant. “You generally need this kind of fabric,” Gelberg reassures. And we’d be a fool not to trust the man who lives and breathes fine suit tailoring.