An update on the cloth and suit after a quick jaunt to San Francisco this weekend to meet Tom for my first fitting. No pictures, unfortunately. The suit is looking very promising, and the cloth is fantastic: nice hand and drape that feels smooth and spongy to the touch, and the pattern isn't at all obtrusive on a large scale. From far away, it looks dark grey.
I also found out some interesting things:
- San Francisco is apparently the maddest stop of Tom's US tour. On Monday, their first day, they were seeing clients from 9 AM to 9 PM, with 2 half-hour breaks for meals, and it will be pretty much like that today as well. Things can go awry when they fall behind schedule (someone's late for example), because some people are overlapped with others and each session is only about 30 minutes long. But he seemed to be handling it well and efficiently, and Lucy charmed waiting clients in the hotel lobby. Even New York is laid back by comparison.
- A&S drape cut is NOT a sack! When there are brief summaries of Savile Row style, A&S is made out to be formless, compared to Huntsman and other similar house styles. It's actually quite fitted (my jacket had to be let out a bit because it was too fitted), and far more so than any OTR Italian brand I've tried, but, and this is the big difference, the A&S cut doesn't give you any shape you don't have already. The hard styles give you shape with shoulders, flared skirts, etc. In terms of philosophy, I think this is very similar to the Neopolitan style. Interestingly, the only place I've seen a comparable fit is a fellow forum member's MTM Kiton KB-model jacket where he had very specifically asked for a native Neopolitan fit from a factory tailor/fitter, instead of the roomier jackets we get here.
- Speaking of the jacket, the first fitting was somewhere more constructed than a forward (basted) fitting, but less than the full suit: no pockets, button holes, collar facing (I could see the lapel stitches on the canvas), or lining. Part of the reason is that for a first-time client, it's easier to take apart for alterations since the pattern may not be right yet, and it's also lighter to transport. 30 to 40 jackets' worth of lining add up to a lot of luggage weight.
- The most unexpected thing I learned are how big a role the pants play. For good reason, a lot of talk about custom centers around the jacket, but the pants can be the subject of much custom work and help the jacket. I couldn't believe how good the pants look: my legs looked like they were going on forever. The pants are cut a bit slimmer than I had expected, too, but this was in line with my requests for the look of the suit. A lot of times, people talk about a house style as if it were a rigid thing, but I think it's more of a philosophical framework by which to frame the customer's requests. I'm sure trained eyes can tell that the suit is A&S-influenced from a distance, but the suit is very much cut to and reflects each person's desires.
So far so good. I'm very excited about seeing the final product in a couple of months.